National Parks

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Thousands of years ago, eight major volcanic eruptions created a destructive field of lava. Lace up your best pair of hiking boots to see amazing volcanic features at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

Eighteen miles southwest of Arco, Idaho, on Highway 20/26/93, you will find Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  Although the park is always open, the winter season, which generally lasts from mid-November through mid-March closes off some parts of the park.  No matter what season you take your trip, bring along sunscreen and plenty of water.  The fields of black lava increase the chances of sunburn and dehydration.

Trails vary in length and level of difficulty.  Visitors with disabilities will find that the half-mile trail known as Devil’s Orchard is paved.  Volcanic cinder beds are the main attraction on this trail.  Along the edge of what is called Blue Dragon Flow is a trail called Tree Molds, a two-mile hike that shows how trees were destroyed by lava.  Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve also has caves, some of which are part of the park’s trail system.  Plan your hike ahead if you want to include a cave; some require a permit before hikers can enter them.  The Broken Top Loop Trail is almost two miles long.  With a permit, you can explore this part of the park’s underground features.  Both above and below the surface, this trail shows just about every kind of volcanic feature you can imagine including lava tubes, pressure ridges, and cinder cones.

Fees are collected at the park’s entrance.  The cost is $10 to enter by vehicle and $5 to enter by bike, motorcycle, or foot.  Those of age 15 and younger require no admission fee.  Backcountry permits for over-night hiking trips are available too.  Be sure to check the park’s website for more information about permits and free days to visit the park.