Heppe Cave Trail

Lava Beds National Monument
Located 18.0 miles from Tulelake, California (CA)
4 Stars
996 Steps 1  (0.5 mi)

The Heppe Cave trailhead is located on the road to Mammoth Crater; this short steep, rocky trail leads to a huge lava tube collapse. The trail to the first entrance of the collapsed rock chamber leads to Heppe Ice Caves; during the warmer months a pool of water can be viewed within the cave. This water feature is the largest open body of water within the Lava Beds National Monument. Beyond this pool is the opening to the chamber that leads to the Heppe Chimney Cave located to the west of the collapse. The summer months can be very hot, but the caves are cool. There are no water facilities available on any of the trails; water is freely available at the campgrounds. Before entering the caves within Lava Beds National Monument, a free screening pass for the deadly bat disease White-Nose Syndrome must first be obtained from the Visitor Center or Fee Booth.

Heppe Cave TrailHeppe Cave TrailHeppe Chimney


The Heppe Cave Trail has a maximum elevation of 5,330 ft (1,625 m), a minimum elevation of 5,257 ft (1,602 m), and an elevation range of 73 ft (22 m).


[ A to B ] or [ B to A ]
Steps 1Length 2Min Ele 3Max Ele 4
9960.5 mi5,257 ft5,330 ft
[ A to B ]
Time 5Floors 6Gain 7Loss 8
12 min5.870 ft39 ft
[ B to A ]
11 min3.239 ft70 ft

What is the length of the Heppe Cave Trail?

The length of the trail is 0.5 mi (0.7 km) or 996 steps.

How long does it take to hike the Heppe Cave Trail?

A person in good physical health can hike the trail in 12 min in the [ A to B ] direction, and in 11 min in the [ B to A ] direction.


The following chart shows the total calories that you may expend on the trail while hiking in the [ A to B ] and [ B to A ] direction at a typical speed and is based on gross weight (which includes anything carried), the topography, trail length and trail conditions.

Topo Maps

Download the free Heppe Cave Trail topo map and the adjoining quads to plan your hike. These are full-sheet, 7.5 Minute (1:24,000 scale) Lava Beds National Monument topographic maps. Do you want full-sheet outdoor recreation JPEG Topo Maps?

Adjoining 7.5' Quadrangle Legend

  1. Northwest Topo Map: Mount Dome, CA
  2. North Topo Map: Captain Jacks Stronghold, CA
  3. Northeast Topo Map: The Panhandle, CA
  4. West Topo Map: Bonita Butte, CA
  5. Topo Map: Schonchin Butte, CA
  6. East Topo Map: Caldwell Butte, CA
  7. Southwest Topo Map: Little Glass Mountain, CA
  8. South Topo Map: Medicine Lake, CA
  9. Southeast Topo Map: West of Kephart, CA

Is there a Heppe Cave trail map?

Yes, and it's free! The Heppe Cave Trail is located on the Schonchin Butte topo map. Use the adjoining quadrangle legend to download the map.



  1. Steps is a unit of distance equal to the sum of stride lengths that vary with the terrain.
  2. Length is the distance of the trail between the two trailheads, measured on the trail.
  3. Min Ele is the minimum elevation on the trail.
  4. Max Ele is the maximum elevation on the trail.
  5. Time is the typical total time required to hike the trail.
  6. Floors is the gain divided by twelve, the height of one floor.
  7. Gain (cumulative elevation gain) is the sum of every gain in elevation.
  8. Loss (cumulative elevation loss) is the sum of every loss in elevation.