Subway Cave in Lassen National Forest is your basic tourist trap, which we’re guilty of falling into, but I’d rather explore the holes that most people don’t know about and that’s exactly what we did.
The two lava tubes we explored were in an area that most tourists wouldn’t think of going, not to far from the PCT.
We found them by asking the ranger back at the Old Station Information Center. You can often find fun secret locations just by asking. Most rangers will tell you if they feel you respect the land and sacred sites that are often left out of the public domain. These non-touristy areas are often left off of maps in order to protect them from assholes who have nothing better to do than destroy something that is supposed to belong to all of us.
The ranger that told us about these two lava tubes, had been walking along the PCT a week earlier and noticed two openings. He didn’t have time to check them out so we told him we would check them both out and report back to him.
The first one looked rather promising…
…so we made our way down.
From above, the entrance to the tube looked fairly small…
…but as we got closer to it, we realized it was big enough to venture into.
The tube itself was rather small once you made your way through the opening. There was a large room that was big enough to stand up in but it didn’t appear to open up much beyond that.
I did a little crawling around back near the collapsed area to see if I could find any other chambers…
…but no other openings were found, so I decided to head back up to the surface.
It’s always a good idea to bring more than one light source when exploring any area underground because if you lose one of them you’re going to have to find your way back out in the dark.
Looking up from the entrance to the lava tube, you get a good perspective of just how deep this sucker was.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
The second one looked a little more difficult to get down into and less promising once you did.
I went down to explore this one by myself.
You’ll often find directional arrows when exploring caves or mines. These are used as guides in case there’s an emergency and someone needs to get out in a hurry. This one pointed the opposite direction from where I entered so I assume it was painted prior to this section of tube collapsing.
I immediately noticed a big difference from the other cave we had just explored, this one had water in it.
I could smell it as I made my descent and could also see crystallization on the rocks above, which created a pretty cool effect when you shined your light on it.
I went pretty deep and still couldn’t see the end of it.
The ceiling got lower and the amount of water increased the deeper I went.
Knowing that we still had a long day ahead of us, I decided to make my way back up but would love to come back sometime just to see how far this tube goes.
Surface to Air
Protecting and preserving historic, sacred, and sensitive sites should be practiced by all. Locations, directions, and names to some of the places found on this site are not listed, please don’t ask for them. Tread lightly, leave no trace and always respect the wonder that surrounds you.