What is It?
Lava tubes, cinder cones and a landscape scarred by volcanic activity make up Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve between Arco and Cary in southeast Idaho.
Where is the Volcano?
Craters of the Moon formed over a series of eruptive periods between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. Lava would erupt from the Great Rift. As the name suggests, a large tear in the ground can be seen today from the visitors center. The Great Rift is 635 square miles large. It is the largest and deepest volcanic rift in the continental United States.
Craters of the Moon is home to all forms of volcanic remnants that can be seen from your car or from a hike. Splatter cones are a popular highlight. They are formed when many small balls of molten lava fall around the edges of an open vent, piling up and cooling into what is almost a minivolcano.
In 1969, astronauts visited Craters of the Moon. The crew of Apollo 14 was there to study the rocks. The astronauts were to collect rock samples from the moon, which is covered by volcanic material. Since Craters of the Moon is home to many types of volcanic rock, it was the perfect place to study.
What to Pack
If heading to Idaho this summer, pack for the heat. Craters of the Moon in the summer is often warmer than 90 degrees and largely dry, averaging under 2 inches of rain a month. If you wait until winter, you may be greeted by a blanket of snow.
To start planning your trip, and to check updated COVID-19 restrictions, call 208-527-1300 or visit www.nps.gov/crmo.