Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Picture of Captain Jack
Captain Jack

Established as a national monument chiefly for its geological and scientific value, Lava Beds is also significant as the principal battleground of the Modoc War of 1872-73. In a twisted, almost impregnable volcanic fortress that came to be known as Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a handful of Modocs held off a sizable force of U.S. soldiers for six months. Modoc leader, Kintpuash know as Captain Jack, shot and killed General Edward R.S. Canby during a peace conference on April 11, 1873. Captain Jack ultimately surrendered. He and the chief conspirators of the slaying of Canby were executed.

Picture of the Modoc's Murder of General Canby
The Modoc's Murder of General Canby. Photo from the book, Encyclopedia of American Indian Wars, by Jerry Keenan.
Operating Hours & Seasons

Lava Beds National Monument is always open to visitors. The visitor center hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during winter season and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during summer season (closed Christmas Day).

Picture of Modoc Indians in the lava beds awaiting the attack
Modoc Indians in the lava beds awaiting the attack. Photo from the book, Encyclopedia of American Indian Wars, by Jerry Keenan.

Visitors travelling south on Highway 139 (from Oregon) will see signs four miles south of Tulelake directing them into Lava Beds. Visitors travelling north on Highway 139 (from Alturas) will see signs 27 miles north of Canby directing them into Lava Beds.

Public Transportation

No public transportation is available

Getting Around

Personal vehicle, bicycle, walking, hiking

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Further reading

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