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Best Hikes in Craters of the Moon National Monument

Silent Cone Beyond Big Craters
Silent Cone rising in the distance beyond one of the smaller craters of the Big Craters along the North Crater Trail. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Craters of the Moon National Monument preserves a fascinating volcanic landscape in southeastern Idaho. The park features a number of hiking trails that will keep everyone from novice hikers to avid trail junkies entertained. While there are plenty to choose from, each one uniquely different from the other, below are some of the must-do trails if you’re limited on time.

Inferno Cone

The Inferno Cone Trail is the shortest hike on this list at only 0.2 miles. Yet the view that unfolds is one of the best in the park, making it a requisite hike. Though the trail up is steep, at such a short distance virtually anyone will agree that seeing the view from the top is absolutely worth the effort.

Limber Pine on Inferno Cone
A windswept limber pine tree standing at an angle at the top of the Inferno Cone. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Broken Top Loop

At less than 2 miles long, the easy Broken Top Loop is also stunning. It not only brings you past the youngest volcano on the Snake River Plain, but shows off incredible vistas as well. In addition, a trail guide corresponds with posted numbers to give you plenty of valuable insight into what you’re seeing. This includes, lava fields, various cinder cones, and pahoehoe.

North Crater

Hiker Overlooking Big Craters
A male hiker overlooking the Big Craters from one of the caldera rims along the North Crater Trail. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

The North Crater Trail is a moderate one-way 1.8 mile hike. You’ll see some of the park’s most stunning dormant volcanoes as the trail winds up and down through the sides of the cones. You’ll also reach the rim on more than one where you’ll get mesmerizing views into the ancient calderas. This trail can be hiked partially to get a taste of the scenery, as a full 4 mile out and back hike.

Echo Crater

For those looking for a little more mileage, the Echo Crater Trail brings you into the wilderness of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Featuring a stunning collapsed volcano, this 8 mile round-trip hike guides you through the immense wilderness portion of the park. With the option to camp as well, it makes for an outstanding day hike or overnight trip.

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Mike@FreeRoamingPhotography.com