Craters of the Moon National Monument Travel Guide

  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
    by Gatopardo
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
    by Gatopardo
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
    by Gatopardo

Craters of the Moon National Monument Things to Do

  • Devils Orchard Nature Trail

    This is an older area of flow that largely has been overgrown with vegetation. It can take hundreds of years for the soil to break down enough to support vegetation like this.

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  • Go Underground

    There is a trail which leads to four lava tubes near the end of the Loop Road. The first cave you come to is Dewdrop Cave, which is the smallest cave and the most difficult to enter. The trail splits at Dewdrop. The trail to the left leads to Boy Scout Cave and Beauty Cave. The trail to the right leads to Indian Tunnel. The caves offer a welcome...

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  • Climb a Volcano!

    In Craters of the Moon, you can climb on several volcanoes. The largest easily accessible one is Inferno Cone, along the Loop Road. It's a steep rocky climb to the top of the cinder cone, where you'll have a view of almost the entire park.From the parking lot, the trail looks a lot shorter than it is once you get going. There are two reasons for...

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  • Caves area

    Here, you can see a number of the volcanic formations up close as you hike to various caves. There are cave maps that are provided at the beginning of the trail. Even if you don't plan on entering the caves, this is a good stop since you can immerse yourself on the trail in the lava flow - it's a stark landscape. If you do go in the caves, you need...

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  • Splatter Cones / Big Craters

    Finally, you can get to get up close and personal with some craters! The first stop is the splatter cones - mini-volcanoes that had their eruptions start as many as 37 miles within the Earth! Since they are so fragile, they're fenced off, so it's hard to get a good picture of them, you'll just have to go see them in person. From here, you can then...

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  • Inferno Cone

    This is an interesting hike - you park at the base of the cone and can walk up to the top. It's extremely steep, and is done on sometimes very loose cinders, which makes it all the more challenging. Often, you'll look up, thinking you're almost at the crest, only to realize you still have a ways to go. They say it's a half mile, but it feels a lot...

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  • Devils Orchard Nature Trail

    Another flat and easy trail, this time through a number of interesting formations in a cinder beach. Once again, the walk is flat and paved, and it runs about a half mile loop. Some placards point out how people have damaged the park over time and what sorts of actions are being taken to prevent the park from further damage today.

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  • North Crater Flow Trail

    This is the first stop as you leave the visitor center to travel around the park. The trail itself is only about a quarter mile loop from a small parking lot - the trail is paved and doesn't have a ton of elevation change. There are a number of placards that point out the geological formations of one of the younger lava flows in the park.

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  • North Crater Flow Trail

    This flow area is right near the entrance to the park and contains the remains of collapsed crater walls in addition to the flow field.

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  • Indian Tunnel

    Indian Tunnel is a cave you can actually climb through and exit on the other side. The trail through the cave is rough and requires proper shoes and a good sense of balance.

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  • Inferno Cone

    This is one of the largest cones and is one of the few you can roam freely on. It offers great views over the park.

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  • Enjoy the Scenery

    It seemed like every direction we looked there was a different site to take in. There were many picture worthy scenes...

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  • Camping ..

    Camping on the 51- site campground is a first come, first serve basis. Water, restrooms, charcoal grills and tables are provided.

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  • Spuelunking is Fun!

    At the last stop on the 7 mile road around the park, there are 4 caves that we visited. Many of the caves you will need to walk thru with a flashlight. These 4 caves are natural wild caves and expoloring them can be dangerous. The 4 caves at the park are: Dewdrop,Boyscout,Beauty, and Indian Tunnel.

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  • Snow Cone and Splatter Cone

    Snow Cone and Splatter cone are unique in that you can climb into the crater's themself. Both are also unique that there cones are such good insualtors that even during my visit in September their cone's still contained snow from the previous winter.

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Craters of the Moon National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • Pay attention to cave signs!

    The underground caves have warnings listed at the cave entrances. Take a minute to read the signs before entering the caves. The caves are all natural and wild ,exploring them can be hazardous. There are no developed pathways or handrails. The caves have low ceilings, sharp projectiles and loose rocks.

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  • BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU STEP!!

    When you are visiting this national monument, its important to keep to the path or you could find yourself destroying it. This leaflet explains all the details.

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Craters of the Moon National Monument What to Pack

  • Shihar's Profile Photo

    by Shihar Updated Nov 3, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Bring a flashlight for cave exploring. Unfortunately, we did not ,so we did not get the full effect of the caves. The Visitor Center does sell them.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear Hiking attire through the caves. Extra pair of clothes- jacket. The caves can be cold and icy depending on the time of year. We saw a man come out from an underground cave with a drenched shirt.

    Photo Equipment: Camera with good flash

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Craters of the Moon National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • The Three Buttes

    On the drive to CoTM, you will pass The Three Buttes. There are signs on the side of the road that explain the buttes, but if you are driving fast along the road you will surely pass the turn-offs.

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  • Enjoy the drive!

    On the long drive from West Yellowstone, you will drive through Arco, ID. We did not stop in this very small town. This picture depicts the most interesting site we saw as we drove through town... I can't really explain it... I'm guessing it's a HS graduation ritual to desacrate the town landscape!?

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Craters of the Moon National Monument Favorites

  • Shihar's Profile Photo

    by Shihar Written Nov 5, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Always the first thing to do is stop by the Visitor Center. You will find maps and a bookstore within the center. There are ranger-led walks and night program information available. Rangers are always a helpful resource for an enjoyable visit.

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