• View of the Great Rift

    Craters Of The Moon

    National Monument & Preserve Idaho

Scenic Vistas

Nature and Science

Moonrise over Southern Butte

Scenic vistas abound at Craters of the Moon. Clean, dry air over expansive lava flows allows miles of unobstructed views on clear days. The seemingly barren landscape here constantly changes with the interplay of light and clouds and sky. Various shapes of basaltic lava formations reflect deep reds, blacks, and browns as well as a more subtle array of blues, greens, and purples against the backdrop of a wide open high desert sky. Each season reveals different marvels. Warming spring temperatures fill cinder gardens with a sea of colorful wildflowers, such as dwarf monkeyflower, scorpionweed, bitterroot, and dwarf buckwheat. Summer brings with it long days, bright sunshine, and the blooms of prickly pear cactus, syringa, blazing star, and antelope bitterbrush. In the fall, intense sunlight burns off early morning fog to reveal a mysterious landscape of frost-covered limber pine trees, lava rocks, and cinder cones. During the winter months, dark rocks covered with pristine snow present a landscape of striking contrasts inviting skiers and snowshoers to explore and enjoy. No matter what the season, the openness of the landscape here provides opportunities to witness spectacular sunrises and sunsets. And the clear desert night sky offers unique moonscapes and stargazing.

view from Big craters
View from the Big Craters looking southeast down the Great Rift

Did You Know?


In 1970 Craters of the Moon became one of the first areas in the National Park System to be designated as a federal Wilderness area. Craters of the Moon contains vast areas where visitors have an opportunity to experience the earth as it was. More...