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Indian Tunnel

A cave opening in Indian Tunnel rising above rocks along the cave floor. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Indian Tunnel is an 800 foot-long cave at the end of a 0.5 mile (one way) hike in Craters of the Moon National Monument. The cave, lit by occasional rock falls from the ceiling, provides a quick bit of adventure as you wind through the lava tube.

Note: A free permit is required to enter any cave in Craters of the Moon National Monument. You can acquire one from the Visitor Center. The permit is to protect the delicate bat population in the park from white nose syndrome.

Also Note: The associated map and elevation profile end at the cave entrance.

One More Note: The cave will be chillier and darker than the standard trail. Be ready with a headlamp (or flashlight) and an extra layer to keep warm.

Indian Tunnel Trail Description

The trail to the entrance for Indian Tunnel is an easy paved meander over a lava field. Once you’ve wound your way to the cave entrance, then the real fun begins!

Descending into the large lava tube opening, you’ll notice there’s not much of an actual trail. Through the rocks, however, a rough path can be made out as it snakes through the rocky floor.

A cave opening beyond a large rock fall in Indian Tunnel. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Once through the first large chamber, you’ll reach a rocky pile of lava boulders from an area where the ceiling collapsed. You’ll make your way over the boulders before heading through another smaller chamber.

At the opposite end of the smaller chamber, you’ll reach another rock fall that you’ll need to climb over. Once over that rock pile, you’ll enter into a darker section of the cave. Here’s where a headlamp will come in handy.

Continuing through the dark chamber, you’ll begin ascending up toward a small hole in the ceiling. A quick and easy scramble brings you back up into the daylight, where you’ll make another quick ascent out of a recession in the ground from Indian Tunnel.

Once out into the top of the lava, follow the posts to lead you back to the entrance to the lava tube. From there, head back along the paved trail the same way you came in.

Getting There

From the Visitor Center, head 4.2 miles south along the main road, continuing around the main loop northward. At the Caves Trail road, turn right and follow the road to the parking lot at the end.

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Mike@FreeRoamingPhotography.com