Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve


Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a unique and otherworldly volcanic landscape located in southern Idaho. It is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of approximately 1,117 square miles. The monument and preserve showcase a vast expanse of lava flows, cinder cones, and other volcanic features. Here are some key points about Craters of the Moon:

  1. Volcanic Features: The area is characterized by its rugged and barren terrain, which includes expansive lava fields, cinder cones, lava tubes, and spatter cones. The landscape gives visitors the feeling of being on another planet.
  2. Lava Tubes: Craters of the Moon is known for its extensive system of lava tubes, which are caves formed by the flow of lava. Some of these tubes are accessible to visitors, providing a unique underground experience.
  3. Cinder Cones: The monument features numerous cinder cones, including the iconic Inferno Cone and the Spatter Cones. Visitors can hike to the top of some of these cones for panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  4. Wildlife: Despite its harsh environment, Craters of the Moon supports a variety of plant and animal life. Visitors may encounter sagebrush, wildflowers, and various wildlife species adapted to the volcanic landscape.
  5. Visitor Center: The visitor center provides information about the geology, ecology, and history of the area. It also offers exhibits, films, and educational programs to enhance visitors’ understanding of the unique features found in the monument.
  6. Scenic Drives and Trails: Scenic drives and hiking trails allow visitors to explore the diverse landscapes within the monument. The Loop Drive provides a scenic overview of the major volcanic features.
  7. Preservation Area: The addition of the term “Preserve” to the monument’s name signifies the efforts to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources within the larger designated area.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a fascinating destination for those interested in geology, volcanic landscapes, and unique natural formations. It offers a surreal and captivating experience that is quite different from traditional national parks.

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