Long before Lava Beds was a national monument, it was home to the Modoc peoples. During homesteading in the 1800s by white settlers, the Modoc were relocated to a reservation near Klamath Falls. Unhappy with their new location, a small group led by Kientpoos (Captain Jack) returned to their homeland, which resulted in a confrontation with the U.S. Army. The Modoc held off the army for over five months before they were eventually defeated. Captain Jack as hanged and the remaining tribe were relocated to Oklahoma.
From the roadside trailhead, a level trail proceeds to a fork. To the left, a 1-mile trail crosses a portion of the Devil's Homestead lava flow, passes a large spatter cone, then winds across the rabbitbrush-covered plateau to a viewpoint slightly above the wide valley. Here was where Captain Jack and his band of Modoc made their last stand, using their knowledge of the surrounding landscape to their advantage in holding off the U.S. Army as long as they could. The trail to the right climbs to, and circles, the rim of Black Crater, a massive spatter cone featuring aa, pahoehoe, and numerous other interesting and unusual lava formations.
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, BoscoMountainPhoto
- Distance: 4.2
Location: 41.765143, -121.556449
Black Crater and Thomas-Wright Battlefield trailhead.
Location: 41.765682, -121.554861
Fork left for 1-mile route to battlefield overlook; fork right for 0.5-mile loop around Black Crater.
Location: 41.766063, -121.55457
Sign in at the hiker registration box.
Location: 41.767543, -121.551358
Large spatter cone with pahoehoe flows.
Location: 41.769195, -121.539455
Thomas-Wright Battlefield overlook.
Location: 41.765557, -121.554376
Look for tree molds in lava flows.
Location: 41.764813, -121.552709
Circle the rim of Black Crater, then loop around back side to reconnect below.
Location: 41.766462, -121.55429
Location: 41.767527, -121.551243
Location: 41.768399, -121.546447
Location: 41.769215, -121.539377
Location: 41.765638, -121.554612
Location: 41.765198, -121.552305
Location: 41.765518, -121.552992