Basic Information

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a "weird and scenic" landscape of lava and sagebrush, located in southern Idaho. Most visitors explore the trails, caves, and scenic overlooks along the park's 7-mile loop road, but more opportunities abound in the park's vast wilderness. The Plan Your Visit page is a great place to start planning your trip to the "Moon."

The park
is open every day of the year, but peak visitation occurs between late spring and early fall. Some park facilities and the loop road are closed during the winter, but the colder months bring opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Visit Current Conditions to check the availability of roads and visitor services.

Scroll down for current visitor center hours and seasonal information.

 
A ranger at the entrance booth hands a brochure to a visitor.

Fees & Passes

Information about entrance fees and park passes

A dog sits on a paved sidewalk, overlooking the Craters landscape.

Pets

Tips for visiting Craters with pets

Visitors walk along a paved trail to and from a small spatter cone.

Accessibility

Information on trails and services for visitors with disabilities.

 

Entrance Fees:

Entrance Passes:

 

When Should I Visit?

Different seasons bring unique opportunities to explore, as well as their own challenges. Check weather forecasts before your visit here.

Spring (April/May/June)

Spring comes a bit late to the high desert of southern Idaho. At Craters of the Moon, winter snowpack may last into early May and often the loop road is not open for use until mid-April. April and May can still see snowstorms that temporarily close the loop road, snow on many of the trails, and closure of the lava tubes or caves due to hazardous ice. Temperatures can vary from warm to cold during the daytime to cold during the night. Camping facilities and services are limited at this time. From mid to late-June, the wildflower bloom at the monument is at its peak. Longer hikes into the wilderness are recommended during this period of moderate temperatures.

Summer (July/August)

Summers can be described as warm to hot during the day with rapid cooling during the evening that leads to chilly nights. Trail hiking is best planned during the morning hours with a visit to the cool inside of a lava tube recommended for the afternoons. Visitation peaks during this period, but most attractions can still be enjoyed, and solitude is still available to those who seek it. The campground generally fills by late evening on most nights.

Fall (September/October)

Temperatures cool down during this period and the lack of wind can make this some of the most ideal weather during the entire year. Summer crowds are gone, making it an ideal time to see the monument on your own. This is a good time for backpacking into the wilderness area of the monument. Campsites are easy to find, and water and facilities in the campground are available into October, depending on the low nighttime temperatures. Aspen in the mountain areas to the north of the monument take on autumn colors during this time.

Winter (November / December / January / February / March)

Winter covers many months at this latitude and altitude, from November through March. The loop road usually closes by mid-November and then cross-country ski track is prepared as soon as a good snow base forms. Snowshoeing and skiing are great way to explore the park, and snowshoes are available by loan at the visitor center. Winter temperatures can dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit and blizzard conditions can occur during any winter month.

Last updated: June 2, 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

Contact Us