Basic Facts About Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Situated in central Idaho’s Snake River Plain, Caters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve protects a vast area of lava flows, sagebrush, and cinder cones. The rugged landscape resembles that of the moon’s surface and was visited by Apollo 14 astronauts in preparation for their trips to the moon. 


In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge established Craters of the Moon as a national monument. In 2000, President Clinton expanded the monument’s area. Craters of the Moon was established over the course of 15,000 years by a series of lava eruptions, leaving behind basalt lava deposits and other volcanic features. Throughout history this region was home to varying Native American tribes who created trails through this rugged landscape. Those trails were then used by pioneers along the Oregon Trail to avoid the region’s lava flows. 


A rugged, breathtaking landscape, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve boasts volcanic terrain encompassing Idaho’s Great Rift. The monument protects lava fields, sagebrush steppe grasslands, and represents one of the country’s best examples of flood basalt. The volcanic features that define the monument are similar to the moon’s surface for which it is named.