Mammoth Lava Tubes are a unique place to explore while beating the heat, making it an excellent summer destination. Located by Duck Creek Village, there is a parking area near the tubes accessible by any passenger vehicle in dry weather. Check the weather in winter, as Mammoth Creek Road can become impassable with snowfall.
The temperature is drastically lower underground so it’s a good idea to bring layers. Flashlights are also a necessity as the tunnels are nearly pitch black. Headlamps are even more convenient. The lava tubes are one of the largest in Utah at over 2200 feet. The passage is about a quarter mile long. The tubes were formed by cooling lava and running water less than 2000 years ago.
There are three entrances of various sizes and four underground chambers. The first tube adjacent to the parking lot is accessed via the small entrance. Hikers will need to kneel or squat to fit through the area. It continues to narrow to the point where you shrink to an army crawl. Some may want to stop early on this path as it becomes quite cramped.
The larger opening leads in the direction opposite the parking area. The space starts out wide and full of light. One tube stretches to the right and narrows quickly. Another tube leads to the left, which is much larger and gated. This is typically the most popular of the paths.
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The gate is in place to protect the bats that hibernate in the cave from October to April. The rest of the year there is a small opening at the bottom of the gate to crawl through. This tube is much wider than the other ones; you may stand and walk freely. However, it can tend to get rocky and muddy. The rocks also often become very slippery, so shoes with a solid grip are important.
The exit to the tubes is a very small opening that must be squeezed through. The underground passages are not recommended for those who are claustrophobic or do not like the dark. Otherwise they are extremely fun to explore. The hike is not strenuous but does involve bending, climbing, and getting dirty. Hikers should be careful on the rocks and deliberate with their footing.
If you love Southern Utah yet are looking for a change of scenery, Mammoth Lava Tubes is the perfect destination. You are certain to have a blast wandering around the underground tunnels. It is a one of a kind adventure for all ages.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe