SUSANVILLE TO OLD STATION – WHAT TO EXPECT
This section of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway begins at the northern edge of Lassen Volcanic National Park and is a continuation of the volcanic terrain from Lassen. Old Station served as a stagecoach stop and military post in the early part of California’s settlement.
Just north of Old Station is Subway Cave offering an opportunity to walk through a 1/3 mile long volcanic lava tube. Subway Cave is a self-guided trail. Less than 20,000 years ago, the lava of the Hat Creek flow was discharged in large volumes from a series of north-south fissures (cracks in the earth). This river of lava located near the town of Old Station, crawled northward 16 miles, covering the floor of Hat Creek Valley. While the top crust cooled and hardened, rivers of red-hot lava insulated by newly formed rock above, continued to flow. Eventually, the lava drained away, leaving tube-like caves.
The entrance to the cave was formed by a partial collapse of the cave’s roof many years ago. Subway Cave is the largest accessible tube in the flow. The temperature inside the cave remains a cool 46 degrees Fahrenheit year around. Be sure to take a jacket with you. Safety – Rough floor, watch your step, low ceiling, sturdy shoes advised! The cave is open late May through October. Closed during the winter months. Visibility deep inside the cave is zero so take a dependable flashlight with you. The length of the lava tube is 1,300 feet with the height inside the cave varying from 6 to 17 feet.