Explore Outdoors: Go underground to experience a Northern California lava tube

If you're up for a drive and small hike, there is a spot in Northern California worth going underground to experience the power of volcanic activity. That spot is called Pluto's Cave, located in a remote area outside the town of Weed. "It is off the beaten path," said Josh McNair, a travel blogger with California Through My Lens. So far off the beaten path, it is recommended you bring a flashlight — even during the middle of the day. If you go, make sure to check the Klamath National Forest's website for current health restrictions and reminders about the special, sensitive ecosystem contained in the cave. Watch this week's edition of Explore Outdoors in the player above to learn more about the lava tube inside Klamath National Forest.

Video Transcript


- 240 miles North of Sacramento outside the town of Weed and just past the telephone pole, is this, Pluto's Cave.

JOSH MCNAIR: --that massive opening behind me, it's Pluto's Cave.

- And that is travel blogger Josh McNair of "California Through My Lens." If you're looking for a spot to socially distance and to explore, this is one spot in his words that's clearly off the beaten path.

JOSH MCNAIR: And so when you kind of finally find it and stumble onto it, it feels like you stumbled onto something really cool and unique that, you know, not a lot of people haven't maybe seen before.

- Pluto's cave is a lava tube inside the Klamath National Forrest. It was formed by the eruption and flow of lava which originated from a vent roughly eight miles away. It is one of the main feeder tubes which carry most of the lava into the Shasta Valley. Today, a short hike allows you to enter and explore a cave whose diameter is larger than many of the caves in the Hawaiian islands. There are even cave markings that suggest visitors here in the early 1900s. And while the largest cave extends deeper into darkness, the Forrest Service advises visitors can safely hike approximately 1,200 feet into Pluto's cave.

JOSH MCNAIR: So it's definitely a fun spot.

- But if you go, make sure to be prepared. Have a flashlight and a backup. Don't go alone. And be advised. Temperatures inside the cave can drop to 40 degrees. Pluto's cave, located in Siskiyou county.