Great Rift Expedition

Explorers in Crater
Cole, Limbert and Teddy rest in Echo Crater

Robert Limbert

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News Release Date: March 27, 2014

Contact: Ted Stout, 208-527-1330

A Journey through the Idaho Wilderness

"I decided to start from Minidoka Idaho and go by compass bearing to the town of Martin… Never will I forget the amazement…that came over us as we first entered this strange valley through seas of solid rock…"

So began Robert Limbert's historic crossing of Southern Idaho's Great Rift in 1920. Hiking with his friend Walter Cole and Teddy, an Airedale terrier, they followed the lava fields from south to north over a period of 17 days. He shared his adventures "Among the Craters of the Moon" in a 1924 edition of National Geographic magazine. This article highlighted this little known region and ultimately led to the creation of Craters of the Moon National Monument by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

Fifty years ago Congress initiated a process by which wild and undeveloped areas on federal lands could be preserved with passage of the Wilderness Act. Congress designated new wilderness areas mostly within National Forests for the first 6 years of the act. In 1970, in recognition of the exceptional qualities of the northern portion of the Great Rift, Congress designated the Craters of the Moon National Wilderness Area, the first official wilderness in a national park unit. Since that time, most of the other young lava fields along the Great Rift have also been recommended to Congress for wilderness designation. In 2000 these Wilderness Study Areas were included within an expanded monument.

This April a group of explorers will follow in Limbert's footsteps and attempt to traverse the Great Rift once again. On the 1920 expedition Limbert lugged his heavy camera with him and attempted to communicate with the outside world with a large signal fire. In 2014 the terrain is just as challenging but the cameras will be considerably lighter and the group will make use of modern technology to share the experience with a wider audience.By hiking the length of the Great Rift the group hopes to bring attention to the proposed wilderness areas (Bear Den Butte, Great Rift, Little Deer, and Raven's Eye) along the route, and showcase the first designated National Park Service wilderness area at Craters of the Moon.

During the week of April 11-17 look for updates and images on the Craters of the Moon Facebook page to vicariously experience this monumental journey through the Idaho wilderness.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Arco, ID 83213


(208) 527-1300

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