Lava Wilderness Study Area
Guide

Introduction

Sitting on a flat plain that features pressure ridges and pahoehoe lava, Lava Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is a 37 square mile Bureau of Land Management property that provides good sightseeing and outdoor recreation opportunities for visitors. This wilderness area located two miles northeast of Shoshone, Idaho can be accessed from its northern, eastern, and southern ends, although some of these areas require navigating through private lands. Some access routes to the park require negotiating dirt roads.

Some of the popular activities at Lava WSA are hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, and nature study. So, you get to choose what interests you. If you wish to enjoy more recreational opportunities such as bird viewing, boating, fishing, caving, sailing, and picnicking, you should visit Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, and Magic Reservoir.

There are no facilities and services within this WSA, so gear up for primitive camping adventures. Ensure you come along with enough water. Modern camping spots where you can enjoy tent, group, and RV/trailer camping are provided nearby at the National Monument and a KOA campground.

RV Rentals in Lava Wilderness Study Area

Transportation

Driving

Lava Wilderness Study Area lies two miles northeast of Shoshone, in Lincoln County, Idaho. The wilderness is accessible by vehicles from different areas. Burmah Road is a paved county road that bounds the wilderness to the north. If you are coming in from the eastern, western, and some parts of the northern boundary, you will find unnamed non-system dirt roads within private and state lands. The southern boundary of the park consists of the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way and private lands. Ensure you request permission before driving on private property.

Due to the nature of the dirt routes that lead to parts of the wilderness, it’s advisable to visit the park in four-wheel-drive vehicles. The use of these motorized vehicles and other mechanical equipment is prohibited within the boundaries of this BLM park, so you should find parking spaces outside the wilderness area. Wheelchairs are allowed.

There are no direct public transportation services to this BLM wilderness area in Idaho.

If you wish to get developed camping equipment such as RVs, fifth wheels, and trailers, you will find rental services at Twin Falls and Lincoln County.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Lava Wilderness Study Area

Campsites in Lava Wilderness Study Area

Reservations camping

Twin Falls / Jerome KOA Campground

Twin Falls / Jerome KOA Campground is a modern campground located along US Highway 93, south of Shoshone, Idaho. This campground consists of 102 campsites, all of which are available by reservation. The campground is open all year. Tents and RVs/trailers are accommodated within the campground.

Amenities provided at this KOA campground include Wi-Fi, horseshoes, laundry facilities, and firewood. Bike rentals are provided in the campground for those that wish to ride in the vicinity. Full hookups are provided for RVs and trailers too. Vehicle length limit is 90 feet.

Cabins and group tent sites are also available.

Seasonal activities in Lava Wilderness Study Area

In-Season

Boating

Water recreation enthusiasts can explore Magic Reservoir, located north of Lava WSA for opportunities to enjoy boating, swimming, sailing, and water skiing.

Even though there are no designated swimming beaches on the reservoir, visitors still get to swim in parts of the reservoir.

Many boat ramps are provided on the shore of the reservoir for power boating, kayaking, canoeing and other activities, so feel free to come along with your vessels. Picnic facilities are available at the boat launch sites. Ensure you remain in the shallow portions of the water.

Birding

Good bird watching opportunities are available for guests at and around Lava WSA. To the north of the park around Magic Reservoir, the islands in the area serve as nesting grounds for hundreds of California and ring-billed gulls as well as 25 pairs of Caspian Terns. If you visit the area in spring, you’ll see long-billed curlew, common loon, tundra swans, trumpeter swans, and other waterfowl.

More bird viewing opportunities are offered at Hagerman Wildlife Management Area where enthusiasts get to see ducklings, mallards, wood ducks, Canada geese and gadwalls.

Hiking

Lava WSA features lots of primitive areas that are open to day hiking and backpacking adventures for interested visitors. All that fancy exploring the remote areas of this wilderness should come along with good hiking boots, enough water, and all other supplies they may require to make the experience pleasurable and memorable.

Hiking opportunities are also provided outside the wilderness at Hagerman WMA where several open trails offer hikers unique wildlife viewing and sightseeing opportunities.

Off-Season

Fishing

Even though there are no fishing spots within Lava WSA, plenty of opportunities to fish for brown trout, rainbow trout, perch, and smallmouth bass are present on Magic Reservoir. Anglers can enjoy fishing from the shore or from their boats on the reservoir, owing to the fact that boat launch ramps are provided along the 25-mile shoreline of the reservoir.

Ice fishing is also a popular winter activity too, so you can fish for perch and trout in winter.

Exploring Caves

A good chance to explore caves is available to those that can take a short trip to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Five caves are open to visitors in this National Monument in Idaho, along two trails. Four of the caves are present along the 1.6-mile Caves Trail, while the other is found along the 1.8-mile Broken Top Loop Trail.

Prepare for an easy to difficult hiking adventure to the four caves on Caves Trail. The last cave offers a difficult hiking experience.

Hagerman Wildlife Management Area

Good recreational opportunities are provided at Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, the first wildlife management area in Idaho. This WMA, which was initially established as a habitat for upland game birds and waterfowl, is now home to many more activities.

Besides the chance to see and take photographs of the abundant bird species that rest, feed and nest in the WMA, visitors can enjoy angling exercises and go after fish species such as trout, bass, and gill. Every year, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game stocks more than 30,000 fish in the Oster Ponds in this WMA.