Missing Link Trail

Lava Beds National Monument
Located 16.1 miles from Tulelake, California (CA)
4 Stars
1,518 Steps 1  (0.7 mi)

The Missing Link Trail is a connector trail located halfway into the Bunchgrass Trail. 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.

Missing Link TrailMissing Link TrailMissing Link Trail


The Missing Link Trail has a maximum elevation of 4,637 ft (1,413 m), a minimum elevation of 4,570 ft (1,393 m), and an elevation range of 67 ft (20 m).


[ A to B ] or [ B to A ]
Steps 1Length 2Min Ele 3Max Ele 4
1,5180.7 mi4,570 ft4,637 ft
[ A to B ]
Time 5Floors 6Gain 7Loss 8
17 min5.869 ft10 ft
[ B to A ]
16 min0.810 ft69 ft

What is the length of the Missing Link Trail?

The length of the trail is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) or 1,518 steps.

How long does it take to hike the Missing Link Trail?

A person in good physical health can hike the trail in 17 min in the [ A to B ] direction, and in 16 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 Missing Link 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 Missing Link trail map?

Yes, and it's free! The Missing Link 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.