Have you ever wondered what it was like to walk on the Moon? Craters of the Moon National Monument will give you that chance. Located in Southern Idaho, it is a detour to get here but worth your while. There is a campground located within the national monument, just in case you want to take a little longer to explore the park. But be aware that it can get quite hot in the summer.
There is a fee to access the National Monument. You can get all that information here: Fees
Explore Crater of the Moon National Monument
The main attraction in Crater of the Moon National Monument are the caves. To access a cave you need to get a free permit from the Visitor Center. It is your first stop, so make sure to take a few minutes to get one. It is necessary to help save the bats from White Nose Syndrome. They will also let you know which caves are open. You will also get a map of all the stops on the loop drive. This is also your permit for the caves.
Here are our favorite spots to stop.
1. Inferno Cone
This is the first stop you should make. You can walk or attempt to run up this cone of lava rock. Less than a mile and it's straight up to a view of the area.
2. Spatter Cones
Learn about the history of these amazing mini volcanos. The longest history and the most recent eruptions. This area is amazing in the fact that you can look right into the area where lava would come out. Be careful on a windy day, you can lose your hat or on any day you can lose your sun glasses!
3. Tree Molds
This is a short couple mile hike through lava rock and amazing scenery. This is not as popular as other areas in the national monument, so depending on the day you may have it to yourself! At the end of the trail, are molds of trees in lava. No trees, just the mold. It is actually quite crazy!
This is where you will truly feel like you are walking on the moon. After arriving at the parking lot, you get to take a walk through a lava field.
Our destination was Indian Cave, but depending on which one you can explore they are all down the walkway. The walk through Indian Cave is a loop. I would start at the main entrance.
Then enjoy the short walk through. The skylights and openings are amazing.
You can turn back or you can go to the end. The exit is small but easy to maneuver.
I hope you get to experience this unique place. The history is amazing!