A Little Piece of Outer Space in Idaho, Craters of the Moon
The great state of Idaho is filled with many natural wonders, sights and terrific destinations and activities. As a new Idaho real estate owner who enjoys checking out these resources, you'll find that there are five national parks in the state, and Craters of the Moon is one of those. Located in the southeast portion of the state on the Snake River Plain, Craters of the Moon is 18 miles southwest of Arco, 24 miles northeast of Carey. The nearest airports to this amazing natural attraction are in Hailey, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls.
History of Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon was created by volcanic activity. This created by a series of super-eruptions which were cataclysmic caldera-forming. These started over 15 million years ago. As the North American Plate has migrated southwestward, the hot spot which created Craters of the Moon is believed to have been moved to Yellowstone Park. Now, the area has constant dry winds and is covered with black lavas that absorb the heat, creating a desert climate.
Hiking Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon has been called a wonderland of volcanoes, which is incredibly fascinating and fun to explore. Hiking the craters and spelunking in the caves are great ways to learn more about this intriguing place. You'll need a Cave Permit before entering any cave on national park service lands. You can get such a permit at Craters of the Moon's Visitor's Center, or at the Entrance Station. The various hikes along trails and craters, some of which involve exploring caves last between 30 minutes and up to a full day or longer.
Craters of the Moon Sightseeing
You can choose to sight-see from the comfort of your own car by driving along the seven mile loop. One of the many hikes available includes the North Crater Flow Trail, Devil's Orchard Trails and Spatter Cones. Another scenic hike covers hiking from the parking lot of the Spatter Cones up to the Big Craters, and an underground exploration of Indian Tunnel. Broken Top Loop or the Tree Molds Trails take about a half-day each. If you're up for a full day of hiking and discovery, then you'll find the Craters of the Moon Wilderness hike appealing it includes viewing the amazing Lava Trees, and exploring Echo Crater.
There's a lot of history in this region, and throughout Idaho in general. Westbound pioneers by the hundreds traveled through this area throughout the 1850s and '60s, making their way across the Oregon Trail via Goodale's Cutoff. Craters of the Moon became one of the first National Park Systems' designated Federal Wilderness areas in 1970. In order to conduct scientific research within the park, a permit is needed.
Overall, you'll witness the handiwork of several thousands of years of volcanic activity, which has formidably sculpted this unusual landscape. A wide array of plants and animals call the high desert ecosystem of Craters of the Moon their home. This sight to see is fascinating and well worth the trip.