• kari @ pnw kids

Craters of the Moon National Park, Idaho

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is such a unique and amazing spot to take the whole family. The name alone is enough to warrant a visit right? But the NPS describes the landscape as " weird and scenic" which again, is totally enough to warrant a trip out. Read our full review and travel guide below to find out some other reasons why you should visit this amazing and unique spot!


If you have kids that are volcano fanatics then Craters of the Moon National Park is one of the top volcano tourism destinations in the west. The park is composed of a massive lava flow field and has the most interesting and unique landscape. Kid's will be fascinated with the landscape and a trip to the visitor's center is a great opportunity to teach them all about this amazing spot in Idaho.


Things to do:


1. Become a Lunar Ranger at the Visitor Center


Ever heard of the Junior Ranger program? Well at Craters the Moon you can become a lunar ranger. The park is also used for lunar research and little ones can complete the requirements to become a lunar ranger ( so cool!)



2. Camp at Lava Flow Campground


There are several camping grounds in the area, more details can be found here. The park is totally dark at night, which is perfect for those interested in a little star gazing. If you're interested in experiencing the night sky, it's probably best if you stay a night, or two!


3. Check out part of the Oregon Trail at Goodale's Cutoff


If you are an Oregon history buff, you'll be interested to know that part of the Oregon trail actually runs through the park. Goodale's Cutoff can be seen from various points along the highway and 3.5 miles west of the visitor center but it is not accessible by car. You can obtain a permit to hike the area and it's so worth it, for the beauty alone!.



4. Drive the Scenic Loop Road


It's called a scenic route for a reason and it's gorgeous! The Scenic Loop Road at Craters of the Moon is a great spot to get a good sense of the landscape and an opportunity to see some amazing landscapes fast.


5. Take a walk up the Inferno Cone


This walk is so cool. The landscape will blow your mind! Inferno Cone is a large cinder cone that is totally barren. Once at the top of this short but steep walk, you'll get incredible views of the entire park.



6. Check out some caves


At Craters of the Moon there is so many fascinating adventures, one of the coolest being hiking the lava tubes. The Caves Trail is a 1.6 mile trail that travels to 4 different lava tubes. You will need to obtain a permit and they'll share with you some important information on the hike as well as some information on the bat population living in the caves. Don't forget your lights either because it's dark in there!


Resources

  • https://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm

  • https://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/craters-moon-national-monument-and-preserve

  • https://visitidaho.org/things-to-do/national-monuments/craters-of-the-moon/

  • http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/craters-moon


Videos


Here are some great videos and vlogs showing the landscape of the park. The first video is from SilverSliverTv and the second video is from Travels with Yoly. Click on their names to view their YouTube pages.






Have you explored Craters of the Moon National Park? If so, let us know if the comments below!


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