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Sonoran Desert Nat'l Monument
Lava Flow Trail

Trail Map (pdf)

GENERAL INFORMATION: Lava Flow Trail, in the 34,400-acre Table Top Wilderness, offers a hiking opportunity of light to moderate difficulty in a varied and dramatic Sonoran Desert landscape. Three trailheads are linked by a relatively level 7 1/4-mile trail. From south to north, the trail meanders through dense forests of saguaro, paloverde, ironwood, and cholla; skirts the jumbled basaltic slopes of Black Mountain; traverses an extensive creosote-bush flat; and crosses several large washes. Lava Flow Trail provides sweeping views of Vekol Valley and the Sand Tank Mountains to the west, while flat-topped Table Top Mountain - highest point in the Table Top Wilderness - looms to the east.

ACCESS: Lava Flow Trail is accessed at three points. Exit Interstate 8 at the Vekol Valley Interchange (Exit 144) approximately 26 miles east of Gila Bend and 34 miles west of Casa Grande. To access Lava Flow West and South trailheads, travel south on Vekol Valley Road 2.1 miles to the Vekol Ranch turnoff and continue south on the dirt-surfaced road to the right, using the schematic map below. From Interstate 8, it is 9.8 miles to Lava Flow West Trailhead and 14.5 miles to Lava Flow South Trailhead. To access Lava Flow North Trailhead, travel south on Vekol Valley Road 0.7 miles from Interstate 8 and turn east onto the primitive four-wheel-drive road. It is 9.1 miles from I-8 to Lava Flow North Trailhead. A high-clearance vehicle is required for access to Lava Flow South Trailhead, and four-wheel-drive is required for access to Lava Flow North and West trailheads.

FACILITIES: No facilities are provided at any of the three Lava Flow Trail trailheads.

MAPS: Lava Flow Trail is depicted on the USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps entitled "Little Table Top, Ariz.," and "Antelope Peak, Ariz." The remainder of the Table Top Wilderness is depicted on USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps "Indian Butte, Ariz." and "Vekol Mts., NE, Ariz."


  • Lava Flow Trail receives very little use. Always tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Drinking water is not provided, so bring plenty.
  • Vekol Valley is prone to heavy rains and flash floods. Do not attempt to cross flooded washes.
  • You may encounter rattlesnakes or other poisonous creatures; watch for them and be careful where you put your hands and feet. Do not harass reptiles - most bites result from people playing with, collecting or attempting to kill them.
  • Fires are not allowed in the Table Top Wilderness.
  • Pets must be leashed.


 Sonoran Desert National Monument
Monument Manager:  Dave Scarbrough
21605 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929
(623) 580-5500