August 11, 2021

Craters of the moon

Exploring the moon in Idaho

Historical Facts

Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. We invite you to explore this “weird and scenic landscape” where yesterday’s volcanic events are likely to continue tomorrow.

Explore the wonderfully weird landscape formed by molten lava fields nearly 15 million years ago. Discover Craters of the Moon’s awe-inspiring geological history.

“Living in a world such as this is 
 like dancing on a live volcano...”

– Kentetsu Takamori

One of four national parks in Idaho, President Calvin Coolidge created Craters of the Moon National Monument on May 2, 1924. 

The monument preserves around 53,500 acres of volcanic formations and lava flows on the northern rim of the Snake River Plain in southcentral Idaho. A desolate yet sublime landscape that could only be described as “weird,” the monument has never failed to inspire, if not evoke ambivalent responses from even its most ardent supporters left speechless by the unusual lava terrain. 

Craters of the Moon is a huge national park. It is over 1,100 square miles (over 750,000 acres) which is roughly the size of Rhode Island. The young lava flows that make up the bulk of the Monument and Preserve can clearly be seen from space.

Weather at Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve

Craters of the Moon has four distinct seasons, each providing visitors with exciting ways to explore the park. When a good snow base forms in winter, you can snowshoe through the park, but know that temperatures can dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit and blizzard conditions can occur. In the warmer months, plan your hiking for the morning and lava tube visit for the afternoon.  

Drying winds at speeds of 15 to 30 miles per hour blow on a daily basis, particularly in the afternoons.

– National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior 


Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
P.O. Box 29
Arco, ID 83213

What is it like to visit
Craters of the Moon?

Visit their website for more
information and maps.

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