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

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

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

Arco, ID 83213


(208) 527-1300

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