Caves Free activities

Meadow Lava Tubes (Tabernacle Hill near Fillmore)

Meadow Lava Tubes

We’ve done a lot of simple caving recently. We got hooked on it after visiting Craters of the Moon National Monument. We’ve also done Ledgemere Campground Cave, Timpanogos Cave, Wind Cave near Logan, and Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park. So naturally, when we heard about the lava tunnels near Fillmore, we put it on our calendar.

 

We were not disappointed with the Meadow Lava Tubes. When you get out of the car, there is a large impression in front of you (to the east). At the far end of this depression is a short dark tunnel that opens up very nicely. A flashlight, or a cell phone light is recommended, even though the cave is never entirely dark. There are plenty of trip hazards and low hanging rocks if you’re not careful. But the cave is wide and open for much of the way, and even our 2 year-old walked easily through the dark. This cave is accessible to almost anyone (you’re not getting wheels down there!) After about 75-100 yards, you’ll come up an easy climb and find yourself back at the surface.

IMG_4302

This is the depression you climb down into when you leave your car.

IMG_4303

This is what it looks like once you enter the lava tube.

IMG_4306

It gets a little dark, but we had our phone with a flashlight and got through just fine.

IMG_4307

This is the way out back up onto the top.

At the west of the depression is a much longer, but more open tube. This tube stretches for half a mile or more. At first, you’ll go under the road to the west, and you can easily get by without a light at all. There are holes in the ceiling, and after a short distance, the ceiling disappears entirely. For a few hundred yards, you’ll keep passing in out of terrain like this. Then, there is a large rock field that takes some serious scrambling. After a few hundred more yards, this opens up into micro canyon, surrounded by volcanic walls.

IMG_4308

This is the entrance to the long tube.

IMG_4311

It’s really open and people have built fires in here before.

IMG_4318

As you work your way along, there are holes in the ceiling that give plenty of light.

IMG_4320

The climbing can get a little treacherous, but we had to let our two year old have a chance to climb whenever he could.

This section of the tube is more like an easy stroll through a grassy meadow. The catch is, there is no way to climb out as the walls are sheer. After a bit of winding, a new cave opens up, and this one is a dead end. It is very dark, and you’ll definitely need light. It is about as long as the lava tube to the east, but there is no exit. After you’ve explored this area, though, you can climb out to the south (left of the entrance as you go in) and return to the car.

IMG_4329

This is the hardest stretch where you climb over rocks the entire section.

IMG_4333

But then you come to this big open canyon that is easy to walk through!

IMG_4336

It’s open until you round that bend at the far side of this photo. Then you come to the last section of the tubes.

IMG_4338

You scramble up a few rocks to get to the last lava tube. We climbed out from the mouth of the entrance on the left of this picture.

IMG_4342

Inside the last lava tube–that last hole up there is the darkest part. You definitely need a flash light, but it’s a dead end.

That’s all we had time for at the Meadow Lava Tubes, but I’m sure you could find much more if you took some time to explore. As it was, we probably walked a hard mile and half to two miles. And even though we made it safely, we saw an adult take a tumble and slice up his hip on the rocks pretty badly, so be careful!

The caves are a bit out of the way across a bumpy road, but they are well worth it. We even saw a small deer herd with two small bucks on the way out.

You would think there is no life out on the lava fields, but we saw these deer.

You would think there is no life out on the lava fields, but we saw these deer.

IMG_4300

And this Horned Lark…

 

IMG_4339

And this caterpillar. We also saw a few squirrels, but I didn’t capture a picture of them.

 

To get to the Meadow Lava Tubes, get off I-15 south of Fillmore at the Meadow exit and turn south onto Main Street. Follow Main to Center and turn west (right) at the sign for White Mountain. The sign says six miles, and it is actually 5.7 on a well-graded road that passes under the freeway. Take the left turn onto a little bumpier road. Follow this road 1.7 miles to a sign that says “Lava Tubes 2.” Turn left and go exactly 2 miles down the bumpiest of roads and park on the left. The depression should be right in front of your vehicle.

Headlamps are great to have when caving. Click on the picture for more info on this headlamp that is awesome for adults or kids!

This one is a little cheaper and has an auto shut off after an hour…just in case your kids forget to turn it off!

After the lava tubes, you may want to check out the Meadow Hot Springs. There’s a short cut. As you near the freeway underpass, you’ll come to a lightning-bolt, that is, a place where the road goes hard right and immediately hard left again. There is a right turn (south) as you are returning from the lava tubes. If you get to the lightning bolt, you’ve gone too far. Turn right and follow the road to a T. Turn right again, and you’ll get to the Hot Springs 3.7 miles from the turnoff. (There are alternate directions on the link to Meadow Hot Springs).

 

And for the best food ever after this long adventure, check out Cluff’s in Fillmore. Their fries and hot fudge shakes are to die for!

7 Comments

  • Thanks for this great website. We are visiting from CA and checking out several of your stops. At the lava tubes yesterday my 8 year old Los his camera. On the off change thT anyone reads this and visits the tubes this week, please keep your eye out for a red Sony camera. The camera may not survive the elements but we are hoping the flash card will be recovered. It has previous road trip pictures (trains, refineries, road side animals…things that my son loves). Thanks so much for your help! Our number is 818.620.7537, if by some miracle it’s found!

  • I recently found your website and we are excited to go on some your adventures! Thanks for all of your great ideas! We would like to try the lava tubes, but only have a small car. Do you think we could make it down the last 2 mile stretch?

    • It’s rocky and rough. There are many large lava rocks jutting out of the road. It depends on your level of driving experience and the clearance on your car. If you take it slowly, and you know what you’re doing, we THINK you’ll be fine, but there are no guarantees. You will have to decide how much you love your car! 🙂 Happy Adventuring!

      ~UAF

  • I was using Pinterest to look for family friendly hikes and realized I was pinning you over and over again. I have done several of your posts now and this past Saturday we went out to the lava tubes and the hot pots. We had a blast! All of your recommendation have been spot on. I have no idea how you find all these cool places but I am so glad you post and I found you to follow.

    • Thank you for your kind comment. We always love hearing when our blog helps someone’s family have a fun adventure! Thanks again for saying something!