Crystal Ice Cave contains some of the most spectacular ice formations among Lava Beds’ many caves. Because of the sensitive nature of this cave’s formations and its cold environment, Crystal Ice Cave is open to park visitors only on small ranger-guided tours during the winter months.
Tours of no more than six visitors (ages 12 years and older) are offered every Saturday at 1:00 pm from January through March and last 3+ hours.
This is a strenuous excursion and is recommended for those in very good physical condition. Tour participants must use upper body strength to ascend a sheer, 50-foot long sloped ice floor while holding on to a rope, must be able to crawl through a tight hole, and have enough fitness and coordination to negotiate loose, boulder-strewn floors, and icy patches safely. This tour is not appropriate for people with major medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, or osteoporosis, or those with a fear of heights or tight places.
For more information and photos showing what to expect during the tour, please click here.
Required Items to Bring With You (if they have not been in a cave or mine outside of Lava Beds)
- Helmet with chin straps (bike helmets work well, if you do not have one we will be able to provide one)
- Warm layered clothing (such as long underwear, thick socks, warm durable gloves, and a warm hat)
- Water resistant outer layer suggested in early and late season
- Sturdy boots with gripping soles and ankle support
- Kneepads (if you do not have kneepads we are able to provide some)
- Headlamps (if you do not have one we are able to provide one)
Reservations for these tours can be made up to three weeks in advance and are very competitive.
Go to Recreation.gov for more information or to make tour reservations. There is a $1.50 processing fee per spot reserved for this tour.
The tour guide may cancel the tour at any time for health and safety reasons.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine