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Lava Beds National Monument Scenic Vistas

Places to visit besides the many lava tube caves include examples of several types of volcanic landforms. Cinder Cones, one-time explosive eruptions, dot the landscape. Schonchin Butte, 2 miles north of the visitor center, is the largest cinder cone and has a ¾ mile trail to the top. Hike this trail to the fire lookout and be rewarded with a 360 view of the basin. Fleener Chimneys and Black Crater, both spatter cones formed within the past 11,000 years ago, are accessible by trails 5 miles north of the visitor center. Spatter cones are created from thick blobs of lava that collect around a vent, eventually forming a chimney. Mammoth Crater and the nearby Modoc Crater are the sources of most of the lava that formed the caves. Take a short walk to the rim of Mammoth Crater and imagine what it looked like 40,000 years ago. Gillem Bluff is composed of volcanic rock at least 2 million years old, broken by faulting into a high cliff. Take the trail to the top from Gillems Camp and imagine what the field below looked like when it was occupied by soldiers during the Modoc War in 1873. Captain Jacks Stronghold, 13 miles north of the visitor center, is a lava maze formed by deep cracks in a thick lava flow originating from Modoc Crater. This natural shelter provided a sturdy fortification for the Modocs during the war. It is located at the edge of the original shoreline of Tule Lake, drained in the early 1900's for agriculture and homesteading.

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Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.