Craters of the Moon National Monument

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Craters of the Moon National Monument

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Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is in Snake River Plain of Idaho in the United States.


Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. Starting 15,000 years ago, the landscape was created by molten lava flows.

  • Visitor Center, ''+1 208'' 527-3257, [1]. Labor Day-Memorial Day (off-season): Daily 8AM-4:30PM, closed on Federal holidays during off-season; Memorial Day-Labor Day (Summer): Daily - 8AM-6PM.


The area was designated the Craters of the Moon Wilderness in 1970 by Congress. This was the fisrt such type of designation within the National Park Service.


Cinder cones, craters, and myriad volcanic formations line the fissures, or Great Rift, for some sixty miles from north to south, and rise above a surface swirling with frozen eddies and cascading blocks of lava foam.

Flora and fauna

Searing lava flows that initially destroyed everything in their path today protect the last refuges of intact sagebrush steppe communities on the Snake River Plain. These islands of vegetation, known as kipukas, provide important examples of what is "natural".


High Desert

Get in

By car

  • From Arco, it about 20 miles (32 km) south on US 20/26/93 to the entrance to the monument, about a 30 minute drive.
  • From Carey, it is about 25 miles (40 km) north on US 20/26/93 to the entrance to the monument, about a 35 minute drive.

By air

  • The closest commercial airport is Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) is just northwest of Idaho Falls. It has limited service from Salt Lake City on Delta Connections, Minneapolis/St. Paul on Northwest Airlink, Denver on United Express, Las Vegas on Allegiant Air, and Boise and Bozeman on Horizon Air. IDA is located 87 miles (140 km) east of the monument, about a 2 hour drive.
  • The nearest major airport is Boise Airport (IATA: BOI) (ICAO: KBOI), 3201 Airport Way, [2] is serviced by several airlines, including United, Delta, Alaska/Horizon and Southwest. BOI is located 178 miles ( km) west of the monument, about a 3 ½ hour drive.


  • $8 per vehicle.
  • Entering by bicycle, motorcycle or on foot is $4 per person. 15 and under enter free.

Get around



The 7-mile (11 km) long Loop Road passed many of the key locations in the monument, providing access to trailheads leading to a closer look at the landscape. Listed below are some of the stops along the road.

  • North Crater Flow - This lava flow is the youngest in the park. A short ¼ mile (0.4 km) trail leads past lava monliths. A longer 3.5 mile (5.6 km) trail leads to the North Crater, source of this flow. This trail eventually connects to the Spatter cones stop on the driving tour.
  • Devils Orchard - Fragments of rock rise out of a field of black cinder like flowers, giving rise to the name of this area. A ½ mile (0.8 km) accessible trail leads through the bizarre landscape.
  • Inferno Cone - A steep ½ mile (0.8 km) trail leads to the top of this cinder cone which provides a panoramic view of the lava fields, including one of world's largest cinder cones, Big Cinder Butte.
  • Spatter cones - A short accessible trail leads through the spatter cones, miniature vents that create tiny volcanic cones.
  • Tree Molds - This stop is a trailhead for mutiple trails. The 2 mile (3 km) Tree Molds Trail leads past imprints of trees in the lava. The 1.8 mile (2.9 km) Broken-Top Trail circles a cinder cone. The longer, 4 mile (6.4 km) Wilderness Trail visits lava trees, upright molds of trees destroyed by lava flow.
  • Caves - A ½ mile (0.8 km) trail leads to lava tube caves. The caves are open to explore but you will need to bring a light source.






There are no lodging in the monument. The nearest lodging is in Arco.



Stay safe

Get out

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