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The Best Hikes in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

19 Triplog Reviews in the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve National Park
Most recent of 4 deeper Triplog Reviews
10 mi • 656 ft aeg
This is the longest trail in Craters of the Moon, but it's a very easy hike. The trail is composed of soft black cinder, almost like sand, that's very gentle on the feet. The trail circles behind Big Cinder Butte and drops into a valley overlooking the park's backcountry. At two miles I passed some lava trees, where lava basically wrapped itself around some trees and disintegrated them, leaving the impression of the trees in the lava.

At four miles the trail circles behind Echo Crater. After that it starts to peter out as you approach the Sentinel and the Watchman buttes. I climbed into Echo Crater, which was a bit tricky. It was very cool to be inside a volcano, completely surrounded by tall rock walls. I almost felt like a gladiator in the pit of a coliseum. Working my way out of the crater involved scree slopes and some bushwhacking. I amused myself on the hike back by chasing marmots. Always a fun pastime.
0.5 mi • 170 ft aeg
Here's the cutest little half mile hike you'll ever do; straight up the side of a pure black cinder cone with no vegetation. Watching other people do it, it really does look like they're walking on the moon. At the top there are some shrubs and one lone pine tree clinging to life. Since Inferno Cone is centrally located in Craters of the Moon, the views look out on the lava flows and other cinder cones.
1.35 mi • 75 ft aeg
Hiked to Indian Tunnel cave, went down and explored both dead-end appendix to the right side from the stairs (it was dark and covered with ice) and the wide passage to the left from the stairs (it was lighted and inhabited by doves). Went out through the hole on the south end of the cave and got back to the parking lot having decided not to go into two other caves.
0.4 mi • 32 ft aeg
Land of Potatoes met me with a strong wind of 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph trying to throw a car off the highway and periodic snowstorms. While I was watching a movie about Robert Limbert exploring the lava lands in search of midget grizzly bears in the beginning of 20th century, the snowstorm ended. Using that pause I quickly walked along this interpretive paved trail going along different kinds of lava and one broken volcano.

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