Malpais Loop

4/5 (5 reviews)
Flagstaff, Arizona (Coconino County)
Last Updated: 06/28/2020

Trail Information


Malpai Loop is a very popular forest road that winds its way to the famous Lava Cave. The stunning views of Flagstaff’s lesser peaks like Wing Mountain and Kendrick and abundant camping also make this route very popular. There are many hundreds of good forest campsites, most of which are suitable for large RV’s. The Lava Cave is a difficult but manageable one-mile hike down under the pine forests. It is cold in the cave so bring a jacket! This road is also your primary access to various hikes up Kendrick, Wild Bill, and Wing Mountains.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4/5 (5)
Temporary Closure
Visited: 06/23/2022

Road closed as of 6/23/2022 related to pipeline fire.
Visited: 06/09/2021

The trail/road is open and had active camping along it. Got to point out that it is really, really dusty for most of the trail. However, the real prize for this trail is the Lava River Tube that is well worth visiting. Google "Flagstaff Lava Tube" for more info. We spent almost two hours in the tube and really enjoyed it. It's cold, but don't wear a winter coat ... like I did for a few hundred feet before it became too warm. A sweat shirt will be warm enough ... you'll keep warm hiking along the tube.
Official Crew
Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/28/2020

Open, dry, busy with campers. A statewide fire ban is in effect.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 05/31/2020

Nice easy trail. Most any car can do this. Several spots for dispersed camping.
Official Crew
Visited: 01/18/2020

The Forest Service has just permanently closed camping and campfires in part of this area. Stay tuned for new postings and restrictions. Some guide information may now be outdated. The map of closure areas is in this document:

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