Getting there by car: To reach Lava Beds (about 700 miles north of Los Angeles), take Interstate 5 to Redding, and go northeast on California 299 to Canby. From there, head northwest on California 139 for 26 miles to a sign marking a National Forest Service road leading to Lava Beds' south entrance.
Getting there by air: Both American and Alaska Airlines fly from Los Angeles to Klamath Falls, Ore., about 58 miles north of the Lava Beds visitor center. Current lowest fares (with some restrictions) are $303 round trip from LAX. Both airlines charge an additional $30 to carry bicycles, which must be packed. American Airlines has bike bags for $10 each and boxes (a wiser choice) for $15 at the ticket counter; Alaska does not sell boxes, but many bicycle shops do.
Getting there by train: Amtrak offers a round-trip fare of $148 to $228, depending on accommodations and advance reservations, from Los Angeles to Klamath Falls. There is a $5 charge for bikes; boxes provided at no extra charge.
Where to stay: There are several small motels in Tulelake, 30 miles north of the visitor center. There also are accommodations in Merrill, Ore., another tiny town off Oregon 39 just north of the California border. You'll find the widest array of lodging in Klamath Falls, however.
Where to eat: In Klamath Falls, if pizza's your passion, try Pizza Campbell across from the Shasta Plaza. Go to Los Dos Amigos on South Sixth Street for the best Mexican food in town.
Camping: Lava Beds National Monument offers 40 primitive sites (no hookups available) for $5 per day during the summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day), free the rest of the year.
Water is available in the campground during summer, and year-round at the nearby visitor center. Campsites with hookups for electricity, water and sewage are available in Merrill and Klamath Falls.
Tingley Lake Estates (503-882-8386), seven miles south of Klamath Falls, is a birders' paradise with pelicans, Canada geese and snow geese swimming in or flying over the lake.
Temperatures: Elevations range from 4,000 to 5,700 feet, which means the possibility of cold weather any time of year. Summers are usually moderate, with highs near 80 degrees and lows near 50. In winter, snow falls but usually melts within a few days; highs average in the 40s, with lows dipping to 20 or less.
Park admission: Admission (only charged in summer) is $1 per person, $3 per car, $10 for an annual pass and $25 for a Golden Eagle pass that allows admission to any U.S. national park or monument for a year.
More information: Call or write the Superintendent, Lava Beds National Monument, Box 867, Tulelake, Calif. 96134, (916) 667-2282. For information on Klamath Falls and vicinity, write Klamath County Visitors and Convention Bureau, 125 N. Eighth St., Klamath Falls, Ore. 97601, (800) 445-6728.