History & Culture

TIME LINE

(Before
Recorded
History)

2,000 years ago a volcanic eruption creates the Broken Top Flow.


The Shoshone-Bannock build rock rings at Indian Tunnel.


1805

Lewis and Clark cross northern Idaho enroute to the Pacific Ocean.


1831

Lewis and Clark expedition member, Jean Baptiste Charboneau, gets
separated from a brigade of fur trappers and nearly perishes trying to cross the Snake River Plain from south to north.


1833

Army Captain Benjamin Bonneville explores the area with instructions to report back his findings to the War Department.


1862

Tim Goodale leads 1,095 emigrants and 338 wagons across a cutoff of the Oregon Trail that came to bear his name.


1901

Israel (I.C.) Russell with the Geological Survey explores the area and provides the first geologic description of what he calls the Cinder Buttes.


1920

Robert Limbert hikes the entire length of the Great Rift and widely promotes the region for status as a national park.


1923

Harold Stearns, a geologist, describes the area as the most recent example of a fissure eruption in this country and recommends it be preserved as a national monument.


1924

Limbert's article "Among the Craters of the Moon" is published in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE.

President Calvin Coolidge signs a proclamation creating Craters of the Moon National Monument.


1925

First custodian Samuel Paisley constructs thefirst visitor center near Registration Waterhole and receives a salary of $12 per year.
1926 visitation = 4,600


1927

Waterholes that supplied water to the monument dry up following a series of earthquakes and water has to be hauled in for four years.

A troop of Boy Scouts discovers Boy Scout Cave.

The Craters Inn and several cabins are built for the convenience of visitors.


1931

A waterline supplying water from springs in the north end of the monument to the campground and headquarters building completed.


1956

The Mission 66 Program initiates construction of today's road system, visitor center, shop, campround, and comfort station.
1956 visitation = 100,000


1959

The Craters of the Moon Natural History Association formed to assist the monument in educational activities.


1962

Addition of an island of vegetation completely surrounded by lava known as Carey Kipuka increases the size of the monument by 5360 acres.


1967

Study of mule deer completed.


1969

NASA astronauts Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell, Eugene Cernan, and Joe Engle explore the monument while training to visit the moon.


1970

Congress creates the Craters of the Moon Wilderness, one of the first such designations within the National Park Service.


1983

Mt. Borah earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 felt at the monument but does little damage.


1992

Dedication of first totally accessible trail at Devil's Orchard.


1993

Guided walks and programs attended by over 12,000 visitors.


1994

Visitor center lawns removed to eliminate the attraction that was causing deer to be killed while crossing the highway.
1995 visitation = 237,000


1997

New exhibits installed in visitor center.

1999

75th Anniversary Celebration.


2000

Monument expanded to include all of the Great Rift Zone. Cooperative management initiated with the Bureau of Land Management.

2017

Craters of the Moon designated as an International Dark Sky Park.


 
Historic Context Statements
History of Craters of the Moon and the Snake River Plain of Southern Idaho
 
Administrative History
History of Craters of the Moon National Monument

Last updated: August 24, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
P.O. Box 29

Arco, ID 83213

Phone:

(208) 527-1300

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