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. 

History

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. 

Landscape

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.

Getting to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is situated in central Idaho in the Snake River Plain. Located between the towns of Arco and Carey along US 20, the monument is defined by age-old lava flows, cinder cones, and sagebrush. With a landscape resembling that of the moon, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is one of the most unique national monuments in the country. 

You have a few options for how to get to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The best way to access the monument is via car, so it’s best to either rent one or have your own for your visit. Driving to the monument will require visitors to travel along U.S. Highway 20/26/93, and the official address is 1266 Craters Loop Road. The cellular service in this area is unreliable so don’t plan to use digital navigation services as your only means of navigation. 

If you plan to fly, the nearest airports to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve are Hailey, Idaho, which is 60 miles away; Idaho Falls, Idaho, which is 84 miles away; and Twin Falls, Idaho, which is 90 miles away.