After our morning hike - Rings Loop Trail - in the Hole-In-The-Wall area, we ventured out to a different area of the Mojave National Preserve.
The Preserve is huge and has so many different types of terrains and attractions. However, the number of developed trails is pretty small considering its 1.6 million acres.
One of those is the Lava Tube.
Off of the paved Kelbaker Road, we searched for the unpaved Aiken Mine Road. Unfortunately, there were no signs for the road or for the Lava Tube, so we had to make an educated guess based on location. We happened to be correct.
Not far into Aiken Mine Road, this Joshua Tree was begging to be photographed with a red cinder cone in the background.
Continuing on Aiken Mine Road, it turned to the right, but we saw we were supposed to go straight - the first sign we saw pointing us in the correct direction. It's about 4.5 miles in from the paved Kelbaker Road.
From there it was about a quarter mile to the parking area.
There was another rocky road we were supposed to walk up. I did remember reading we were to walk about 300 yards. I kept looking behind trying to think of three football fields. I don't think it was anywhere near 300 yards before we came to a worn path off to the right but, once again, there was no sign about a Lava Tube, just a couple signs indicating "no motorized vehicles".
It didn't take long to figure out we were in the right place. The stairs down into the tube that I'd seen on other blogs was a clear indication.
The ladder was in good shape as we descended into the hole. We went down a little using a small flashlight, and then the ceiling got lower. But we could see another chamber beyond the initial one. It wasn't quite crawling, but there was certainly some bending and there was danger of smacking our heads on the rocks above.
Finally, we were back inside where there was a natural skylight, and a view of what I had seen online. Linda positioned herself in the beam of light, and the photo came out great.
There was another skylight on back in the short tube, and we explored just a little more. There really isn't much to the lava tube other than the ability to get some relatively cool photos. I took one more before we exited.
We had the lava tube to ourselves for a little while and then we met another couple coming in as we climbed out.
Walking back down the trail, we paused to look out over the lava field of which the lava tube is a part.
The lava tube was interesting, and it's worth a stop if you have time - it takes more time to get there than the time you'll spend underground. The surrounding landscape is different than other parts of the park, so enjoy the views as you drive in.
But if you have to skip it, it's not what I would call a "must see".