Pluto's Cave

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California

Start Exploring
Pluto's Cave


  • The trailhead to Plato's Cave.- Pluto's Cave
  • The drop down into the first portion of cave.- Pluto's Cave
  • The cave-in is visible from the approach.- Pluto's Cave
  • A small cave near the entrance.- Pluto's Cave
  • The entrance to Plato's Cave.- Pluto's Cave
  • Light beams through a gap in the Plato's Cave lava tunnel.- Pluto's Cave
  • From the inside of the last section of cave looking out.- Pluto's Cave
  • The first view of Mount Shasta.- Pluto's Cave
  • Phlox beside the trail.- Pluto's Cave
  • Looking toward Sheep Rock to the east. - Pluto's Cave
  • - Pluto's Cave
Overview + Weather
Easy hike. Not a lot of people. Good views of Mount Shasta. Caves.
Exposed hike. Rattlesnakes. Bats.
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,387.00 ft (1,032.36 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Located in the Shasta Valley on the north side of Mount Shasta lies a little traveled and little known set of ancient lava tubes.  These tubes were formed 190,000 years ago as the northern reaches of the Cascade Range were coming into being and Mount Shasta was erupting. Though there are cave-ins along the first stretch of the main tube, you can journey nearly 2 miles into the final section if you are brave enough and have brought proper footwear and lighting you. There is no exit, however, and so you will have to carefully work your way back out.

The trail to reach the caves is a simple walk on dry high desert sand through desert shrubbery, offering a few different flowers that may be in bloom and some great views of Mount Shasta off in the distance. There are species of bats that inhabits this area, and they may or may not be active. While it is always cool to see animals in their natural habitat, make sure not to disturb them as you venture through the caves! The total length of this trip varies from 1.5 miles to 3.5 miles depending on how deep you journey into the cave.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(23 within a 30 mile radius)

Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
67 Members
Who's Done It
9 Members
Submission by
38 Adventures Explored
13 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info