Photo Credit: Michelle Chadd
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. Explore this unique landscape via the loop drive, stop at the visitor center, or hike to caves and craters
THINGS TO KNOW
Two of the trails are handicapped accessible.
Check the website for events and guided nature hikes.
Sunscreen and a brimmed hat are recommended.
Wear closed-toe shoes.
If planning to visit the caves, a flashlight is needed.
A free Wilderness Permit is required to spend the night in the Craters of the Moon Wilderness area. They can be picked up at the Visitor Center during business hours.
A permit is required for commercial filming or photography in the park. Contact the park for more information.
The number of documented caves within the Monument currently exceeds 400 and more are discovered each year. There are 3 main types of caves found here (listed from most numerous to least): lava tubes, fissure caves, and differential weathering caves.
Lava Tube Caves
The vast majority of caves found within the Monument are lava tubes. They formed when the cooling exterior of an active lava flow insulated the molten river within allowing it to continue to flow. In this way lava sometimes flowed for many miles underground until the source was cut off or diverted leaving behind an empty space or “cave.” Indian tunnel (shown in photo) is an excellent example of a lava tube cave. This cave and 3 other lava tube caves are easily accessed from the Caves Trail. To explore any of the five developed caves, obtain a free cave permit.
For more information on all of the extraordinary features of the monument check out the website