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“An out of this world experience - great place to visit!”

Craters of the Moon National Monument
Ranked #2 of 3 things to do in Arco
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: An ocean of blackened lava flows holds opportunities to relax, explore, and enjoy for all ages and abilities. The monument is an easy day trip from Boise, Sun Valley, and Idaho Falls. Click on the link below to learn more about this unearthly landscape and start planning your visit today.
Reviewed 7 August 2011

Spend your day on a dormant volcano deep into the lava beds and hike through some caves too! This is a great place to spend the day and learn to appreciate the power of nature. As you visit, stop in ARCO to see the naval submarine exhibit. Its a small park with the sail of the USS Hawkbill. Hopefully you'll get a chance to meet Dick, the WWII veteran and park curator. He will give you a great lesson on nuclear submarines and show off his museum of naval artifacts. A fascinating adventure.

We stayed at the KOA-Craters of the Moon in Arco and had a great time.

Thank Scott D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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947 - 951 of 1 052 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2011

It's in the middle of no where, but it's a fantastic place to visit. The Park has a Visitors Center with lots of cool exhibits to tell you how Craters came to be and its history. After a visit to the center and gift shop, you can then explore the park.

Most of the park can be visited from a seven mile one-way loop road. There are seven primary stops along the way and each stop has a short walk to the point of interest (usually less than a 1/2 mile). The best vantage point is from stop #4 -- Inferno Cone. Be warned, its a 1/2 mile walk straight up an infirno cinder cone. It's like walking on coal. When you get to the top at 6,100 feet, you can see the entire park and not to mention 100 miles in every direction.

Defintely bring a flashlight for the Caves area if you dare to go in and explore. You can really see the whole park in a 1/2 day if you spend a limited time at each feature. I have been to most of the national parks and this one is without a dounbt the strangest, but most worthwhile park I have ever visited. I had my doubts about driving out there while returning from a trip to Yellowstone, but it was worth it!

In mid July, the noon temperature was on 72 degrees and the humidty at 13%, so my guess is the weather is always pretty good in the summer. There was always a nice breeze blowing during our visit. One thing i will say is that its a very QUIET place. We did not see any wild life or bords for that matter.

Keep in mind that this park is in the middle of nowhere. It is a good 70 miles to Idaho Falls, but it's a straight shot on a two lane road with nothing slowing you down. Once you get there, the only food and water are vending machines. There is nothing in terms of services or gas. The town of Arco is around 20 miles away and there isn't much in Arco.

While you are out here, between Arco and Idaho Falls is the Idaho National Laboratory. This cold war secret Nuclaer Reactor Testing Station has exhibits including decomissioned expiremental breeder reactor. It is 18 miles east of Arco and west of Idaho Falls. It's on the US register of National Historic locations. Either before or after your visit, you can stop at the Museum of Idaho in Idaho falls which is a great compliment to these two sites.

2  Thank Windsurferguy01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2011

This a very unique monument middle of nowhere. I don't know if I would make this journey twice, but I'm glad I've done it once. You learn a lot about lava, A'A and pahoehoe lavas specially.

Thank Siv_Utah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2011

We spent a full day at the Craters and really enjoyed them. The road to the cones was closed, which sucked, but we were able to see them from one of the other trails. The day we were going was supposed to be hot so we headed out early and are glad we did. If I was doing it again on a hot day I would go to the caves first. You have a bit of a walk (can't remember exactly how far, maybe 1.3 km one way?) and it is tough going when it's 28+ degrees and you are in full sun surrounded by black lava. To see the caves (lava tubes) you need to climb down into the holes where the signs for the caves are. The entrances are very non-discript and you don't see them from the trail. Some of them are tight and some gear (knee pads, hard hat, coveralls, etc) would help to really explore them. And light sources of course!

Also, there is a campsite, but not much for picnic tables. The ony food is out of vending machines.

1  Thank The_Cowtowners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 July 2011

When my husband's friend heard we were going out to Idaho, he said we HAD to go to the Craters of the Moon National Monument. We came in from the west side of the park late in the afternoon and decided to check in at our hotel and then head to the park early the next morning. The late afternoon ride by was head turning! Indescribable formations, visual explosions of black lava rock piled, twisted or coiled. We spent a full morning the next day hiking the area. Amazing!

we came in from the west side of the park

1  Thank gogators52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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