The most unique thing about Lava Beds National Monument are its many lava tube caves, which were created by lava flows over a period of fifty thousand years from 10,000 to 60,000 years ago. As the lava flowed from the Medicine Lake volcano, the surface cooled and solidified. Underneath the surface, lava continued to flow to various areas, eventually emptying the “tube” underneath. Over the course of time, the rock cooled, cracked, and collapsed, producing openings to the surface. Today, there are over 700 lava tube caves in the National Monument, of which over twenty (20) can be explored.
One of the best places to see waterfalls in the United States is relatively unknown, and a little off the beaten track. However, if you are willing to explore a bit, and have the flexibility to spend at least a day adventuring about without a set schedule, you will be amazed by what you will see; and by what you can discover. The location is the North Umpqua River, located in South-central Oregon.
Here's a pop quiz for you: as fast as you can (and without using Google), name the seven wonders of the world. In 2014, chances are that you can't do it, because it's too vague of a question as there are a plethora of lists touting different versions of the many wonders that exist around the planet. Irrespective of what the original seven wonders of the world are; or what the modern seven wonders of the world are; or who voted on the list of the seven wonders, there is only one eighth wonder of the world. That wonder is Burney Falls, located in the Cascade Range in Northern California.
In the far Northeast corner of the State of California is the best National Monument you've never heard of: Lava Beds National Monument. While the monument has many interesting historical, cultural, and geologic features to visit, it is primarily the home of the Medicine Lake volcano, which is the largest volcano by volume in the Cascade Range. For over 500,000 (1/2 million years), the Medicine Lake volcano has been erupting; and is a large shield volcano. While there is evidence of over thirty separate lava flows from the Medicine Lake volcano that can be viewed in Lava Beds, one of the most prominent lava flaws is the Devils Homestead. This lava flow originated from the Fleener Chimneys portion of the park around 2,000 to 8,000 years ago, and is considered an aa flow, as it is basaltic in composition and now has a blocky, uneven surface. Today, while the area has some growth in between the hardened lava, to me, it looks like the surface of the moon, and is one of the more surreal places to visit within the park.