- Grade Level:
- Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Craters of the Moon National Monument is an exceptional area to study volcanic geology and the plants and animals native to Idaho's high desert. A field trip to Craters of the Moon allows students to engage first-hand with this volcanic landscape hiking up, around, and in volcanoes, walking through some of the youngest lava flows in the lower 48 states, and exploring one of our lava tube caves.Introductory Video
Reservations and Dates
Reservations and an orientation are required for all visiting school groups. Reservations are taken on a first come first served basis for about 150 students per day to eliminate conflicts between groups competing to utilize the same park sites. The orientation consists of an interactive, 15 minute, discussion about what makes Craters of the Moon unique and addresses important safety and resource protection information. Registration guarantees your group an orientation and an educational fee waiver for your visit. Groups who choose to visit the monument without securing a reservation or attending an orientation, the standard entrance fees will be charged.
Reservations may be made by contacting park staff at 208-527-1335 or through email.
The field trip will be teacher led and a typical field trip consists of traveling from stop to stop around the 7 mile loop road. Below are descriptions of popular field trip stops in the order you will arrive at them.
Arrive at Craters of the Moon Visitor Center, use the restrooms, meet with a ranger for your group’s orientation, and receive your cave permit. (30 minutes)
Load onto bus and head on loop road for your teacher led field trip.
North Crater Flow Trail. This short, paved trail (0.3 miles) is a great place to start. The trail winds through a lava flow and is an excellent introduction to Craters of the Moon’s geology. (30-45 minutes)
Inferno Cone. A short, steep walk (0.4 miles) up the side of a cinder cone volcano rewards you with panoramic views of the Great Rift, Snake River Plain, and Pioneer Mountains. (30-45 minutes)
Spatter Cones/ Big Craters Area. The Spatter Cones are located directly off the parking area. These "miniature" volcanoes are thought to have formed during the latter stages of a fissure eruption. When you are finished at the spatters cones there is a steep 1/4 mile long paved trail takes you to the rim of Big Craters. Hiking up to Big Craters offers you a view you will not get anywhere else around the loop road and be the only chance to look down into a volcano. (30-45 minutes)
Broken Top Loop (2 miles) – Broken Top is one of the most diverse hikes at Craters of the Moon. You can observe nearly every type of feature that created this landscape. Broken Top Loop Guide available upon request (1 hour)
Caves Area (1.5 miles) - Planning on visiting the caves? Your group will need a cave permit. Our most popular cave is Indian Tunnel. It is the largest cave and the easiest to visit. Holes in the ceiling provide some light and entrance stairs provide access to this cave. At the base of the stairs follow the passage to your left to reach the narrow cave exit. Follow metal posts across the rough lava back to the entrance. The other caves are pitch black, with uneven floors and low ceilings. Be sure you have a good flashlight for every person in your group, and that everyone is physically capable before exploring these caves. (1-1.5 hours)
Lunch! Picnic tables can be found at the visitor center, campground, Devil’s Orchard, and Caves Area.
Last updated: March 28, 2019