Operating Hours & Seasons

Operating Hours

The Monument and Preserve is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Winter snows usually prevent automobile access around the Loop Road from mid-November through mid-April. Check the Current Conditions page for seasonal closure updates.

Visitor Center Hours

  • Winter Hours (December through April): 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily
    Closed on the following federal winter holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, & New Years Day with an early closure on December 31 at 1:30 p.m
  • Summer, Spring, and Fall Hours (May through November): 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily


Snow covers the black lava landscape and a twisted limber pine.

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. Winter temperatures can dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit and blizzard conditions can occur during any winter month. This winter season (2020/2021), we will not offer weekend guided snowshoe hikes, but you can still obtain snowshoes by loan at the visitor center. Learn more about what winter is like on the moon!

Small magenta wildflowers growing in black volcanic cinders.

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 drive, 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 are limited at this time and services limited. 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.

White flowers stretch across a hot, dry plain

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.

Aspens turn from green to yellow.

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. Camp sites are easy to find and water and facilities in the campground are available into October depending on the low temperatures. Aspen in the mountain areas to the north of the monument take on autumn colors during this time.

Last updated: April 1, 2021

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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