The Mojave Lava Tube Trail sits 25 miles from the city of Baker amidst a landscape of cinder cones, Joshua trees, and lava beds. This short hike only covers half of a mile round-trip, but the views and experience it provides makes it one of my favorites. After hiking over a trail of broken lava rock, you’ll descend a ladder into an underground lava cave illuminated by two small holes in the cave’s ceiling. In this guide, I’ll provide maps, photos, and a step-by-step guide for those of you looking to explore this lava tube in Mojave National Preserve.
Do not attempt this hike if rain is in the forecast! Mojave National Preserve is a massive 1.6 million acre park. There is no water, gas, or food available in the park, so make sure to plan ahead and come prepared. This is the desert, and the desert can be very harsh and unforgiving.
Getting There: Directions And GPS Track
- The trailhead for the Mojave Lava Tubes is located within Mojave National Preserve on Aiken Mine Road. Aiken Mine Road can be accessed from the north on HWY 15 via Baker, CA. You can also access this trailhead from the south on HWY 40 via Kelbaker Rd.
- Mojave Desert Lava Tube address: Mojave Desert Lava Tube
- Download GPX
- See track on Strava
- Distance: .50 miles
- Elevation Gain: 110 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 3627 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 3657 ft
- Time: ~1 hours
- Difficulty: (1/5)
- Dog Friendly: Yes, in cooler weather
- Permit Required: No
- Parking: Free parking located in dirt lot along Aiken Mine Road at the trailhead
- Weather: This area is brutally hot in the summer, and can be very cold and windy in the winter. Make sure to come prepared.
- Trail Condition: Lots of exposure and no shade. Lots of lava rock along the trail. The grade is level and the path is wide.
- Cell Phone Reception: None
Do you have the appropriate gear for this hike? Don’t hike unprepared!
See my current hiking gear list.
Hike Map And Elevation Profile
0.0 Miles- Starting from the dirt parking lot along Aiken Mine Road, you’ll see a wooden post that signifies the beginning of this hike. Head up the Aiken Mine Road jeep track.
0.2 Miles- Keep an eye out for two trail markers and a use trail to your right. You’ll turn right here. This section is easy to miss. We met two guys that missed this turn on the hike and covered a mile before they realized it.
The use trail will lead past a small hole in the lava tube and eventually the larger opening with a ladder. Make your way down the ladder into the lava tube.
You’ll want to make sure you have a flashlight on this hike because the first part of the lava tube is pretty dark.
There is only one section that will require you to get down low and squeeze a little. It’s not much of a squeeze, but might make those afraid of caves or confined places a little queasy. Make sure to mind your head while passing through.
Once you pass through the small opening in the lava tube, you’ll find yourself in a lava cave with two holes at the top for illumination.
Depending on the time of day, the light in the lava tubes will illuminate the dust in the air for a really cool looking beam of light. This beam of light starts around 11:00 and continues on for a few hours.
It was pretty crazy to see the dust particles moving through the beam of light and illuminating before me.
Once you’ve enjoyed your time in the Mojave Lava Tube, you can climb out of the cave using the ladder and return to the parking lot on the same trail that you hiked in on.
Teutonia Peak- Teutonia Peak is a great hike located within Mojave National Preserve. Make sure to check out my guide.
Share This Post!
11 thoughts on “Hiking The Lava Tube Trail In Mojave National Preserve”
Fun! We just did a lava tube trail near Hana in Maui last week! I had never heard of them before last week and now I know they’re in the Mojave National Preserve too, cool!
Awesome! We’re hoping to take a family trip to Hawaii some day soon!
Awesome! Any plan on which island yet? I’ve only been to Maui but we’re maybe planning a trip to Kauai next.
Not yet. We’re still in the very early planning stages.
Awesome information. I never heard of the lava tube before. Thanks so much.
Thanks. It’s a great place to stop for a quick visit to Mojave National Preserve.
I’ll have to add this to our bucket list for California when we do our 30-day road trip! Looks like a quick and easy hike!
Awesome! It’s a great addition to a California road trip!
Hi! What time exactly did you go to see the light beam? Not sure if 1pm is too late
We arrived just before 11:00 AM.