Thing to Do

Hike the North Crater Trail

A hiker with a large backpack walks on a cinder trail toward a large volcanic cone.
The North Crater Trail follows the rim of the crater and drops into its mouth.

Trail length: 3.5 miles (5.6 km) round-trip
Elevation gain: 758 ft (231 m)

The trail traverses North Crater and drops into the crater mouth, the vent for the North Crater flow. The trail continues to the rim of Big Craters before descending to the Spatter Cones. In order to protect fragile lava formations, off-trail travel is not permitted in the Big Craters area.

Start your hike at either end of the trail. The northern trailhead is located just a few hundred feet up the park road from the adjacent North Crater Flow Trailhead, and the southern trailhead is located at the Spatter Cones parking area, branching off from the Snow Cone walkway. Hike out and back, or arrange to be picked up or dropped off at one end for a shorter trip.
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
The northern trailhead is located along the Loop Road, less than a mile from the visitor center. Parking is a few hundred feet south of the larger North Crater Flow parking area. RVs should park at North Crater Flow.

The southern trailhead is located at the Spatter Cones parking area, also on the Loop Road, about 2.5 miles from the visitor center. RV parking is available.
Accessibility Information
TRAIL LENGTH: 3.5 miles (5.6 km) round-trip
CUMULATIVE ELEVATION CHANGE: gain 758 ft (231 m), loss 510 ft (155 m)  
TYPICAL GRADE: 7.5° (13.4%)
64% of trail is from 4.5° to 43° (8% to 94%)
Standard wheelchair ramp is 4.5° (8%)

28% of trail is from 4.5° to 48.5° (8% to 113%)

TYPICAL TREAD WIDTH: 44 in (111 cm)
MINIMUM TREAD WIDTH: 18 in (46 cm)

TRAIL SURFACE: cinders and lava
90% of trail is FIRM or HARD, 10% of trail is PAVED
OBSTRUCTIONS: ROCKS to 10 inches, RUTS to 16 inches, STEPS to 19 inches

WARNING: There is one uprooted tree along the trail that restricts vertical clearance to 54 inches. Trail conditions may have changed since this trail was assessed. Temporary obstructions may include downed trees and rock fall. Maximum grades and cross slopes may vary by 10% or more.

Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve

Last updated: August 20, 2021