Sentinel Loop Trail – Lava Beds National Monument
Location: Tulelake, CA
Length: 0.8 miles
Features: Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Nature Trips, Walking, Bird Watching, Cave, Views, Wildlife
About the Sentinel Loop Trail
The Sentinel Cave is considered one of the longest “non-extreme” caves in the Lava Beds National Monument trails. It offers a wonderful experience for hikers who are not afraid of the dark. It is also the only multi-entry lava tube in the park. The cave is roughly 2/10 mile from the inside, which is relatively flat and wide.
Trails In The Lava Beds National Monument
The Sentinel Cave is located close to the end of the Cave Loop Road, allowing all the way around the loop on the one-way drive. Beginning from the trailhead, hikers will be walking down a paved trail for approximately a quarter-mile. The trail is actually easy to follow. The entrance of Lower Sentinel Cave is at the end of the trail. You will be greeted with rough rock stairs at the entrance. While the cave has a well-maintained trail, there are still some rough areas that will require you to climb over large rocks.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Bring Enough Lighting
The cave is not well lit. Therefore, you have to have enough lighting to see where you’re going. Bring 2 or 3 flashlights to make sure that you’re safe while exploring the cave.
2) Watch Your Steps
One wrong step can cause unwanted accidents. Thus, make sure to keep an eye on where you’re going. Most caves have a slippery surface so it’s better to take extra care during the hike.
3) Secure Your Equipment
If you bring any piece of equipment such as your camera, then it needs to be waterproof or shockproof. This is necessary to make sure that if it falls by accident, it won’t get easily broken.