There are only so many places on Earth where you can really feel like a human colonizer exploring a hostile foreign planet, and Craters of the Moon is one of them. It would be a rough colonization, though, as it's the harshness of Craters' landscape that makes the place so captivating. It's hot among the 700,000 acres of heat-absorbing lava flows, and it's spare, with very little water and not a lot that manages to grow. Even the mule deer here, as rangers will tell you, only stay for half the summer, having adapted long ago to the perpetual drought conditions. And somehow all this just adds to the awe you feel while picking your way across a jagged cinder bed or slithering through a volcanic cave.

The monument was substantially expanded in November 2000 and in 2002 Congress established the national preserve creating Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Today the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management co-manage the 750,000-acre monument and preserve. The expansion encompasses most of the 60-mile Great Rift and associated lava fields. There are many miles of undeveloped, rugged dirt and gravel roads in these backcountry areas. A high-clearance, 4-wheel-drive vehicle with good tires is strongly recommended. Anyone interested in visiting these areas should contact the visitor center for more information.

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On Hwy. 20, southwest of Arco
P.O. Box 29
Arco, Idaho 83213
Parking: always open
Price: $8 per vehicle

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: 208-527-1300
Fax: 208-527-3073
Price Information: $8 per vehicle
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Away Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.