While driving through rural Idaho on our 35-Day trip we stumbled onto what turned out to be one of my favorite National Parks. The terrain is so different than what we are used to in Florida. We felt like we were in outer space when we landed in Craters of the Moon National Monument. It’s one of the most exotic things I’ve ever seen on vacation, and a definite must see.
The Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (say that 3- times fast) is located on the Snake River Plain in the center of Rural Idaho an is on of my top “things to do” in Idaho. The area was largely avoided by American Settlers as the Oregon Trail bypassed it, and didn’t get any serious exploration until the 1920’s. If you find yourself anywhere near Idaho while on vacation I definitely recommend a visit. In the meantime enjoy this photo essay of the sights.
When you first arrive at the entrance there is a nice visitors center where you can find clean restrooms and lots of information about the park. There are campsites available at the entrance of the park, along with some tours for portions of the caves, that are otherwise inaccessible. We drove into the park with our doggies (and they scored biscuits from the ranger) but they are not allowed on the actual trails due to how fragile the eco-system is.
There is a great driving trail through Craters of the Moon that we spent a good hour on, that was absolutely amazing. Along the driving trail there are quit a few turnouts where you can park and take a quick hike through the terrain. We took a short walk on the Devils Orchard Nature trail and caught a glimpse of a ton off cool rocks and trees.
If you’re into off-roading, there are many backcountry trails that are unpaved through the rest of the preserve, but a 4×4 vehicle is highly suggested. Along the driving trail you can see various large lava cones, and if you are feeling adventurous, can even hike to the top!
One of my favorites along the way though was this field of flowers growing in the lava soil. As the rock is broken down over time by the elements and bacteria, an extremely fertile soil is left behind, which allows mother nature to showcase her talents.
If you are interested in visiting Craters of the Moon you can find more information at the National Park Service website. There are many more hiking trails that we couldn’t explore due to the dogs and time constraints. I highly suggest visiting early in the day as the heat does get pretty intense in the afternoon.
Enjoy the gallery of all our photos from Craters of the Moon below!
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