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Lava Trail Loop

A colorful sunset sky sprawling out over the volcanic landscape. Hells Half Acre, Idaho

The Lava Trail Loop is a 1 mile loop on Hell’s Half Acre, Idaho that brings hikers across a rugged and wild volcanic landscape. The loop also acts as the first 0.5 miles of the lengthier Twenty Mile Trail, which is actually only 4.5 miles. Doing the loop first is a great way to get a feel for hiking in this area, since there is no actual trail and you’re guided only by posts that get you from one to the next. So while there is route-finding on this hike, and some rugged terrain to navigate, it’s still considered an easier hike.

Lava Trail Loop Description

The Lava Trail Loop begins at the parking area and makes a short climb up to the top of the lava rock. From here, you simply find a post with a blue-tipped top and proceed toward it, searching for the next when you arrive at that one, and so on.

With no actual trail, you will be required to hike over sharp and/or loose rocks, so be prepared. Likewise, you will also need to jump over an occasional crack in the rock. As mentioned, this hike is not hard, but it does require a few extra techniques that a standard hike already has in place for you.

That being said, this makes for a fantastic stop if you’re passing by and gives you a wild glimpse into this landscape’s violent past. While it didn’t erupt quite as recently as nearby Craters of the Moon, it was still recently enough to offer a fun and exciting hike to those willing to check it out.

Getting There

From Idaho Falls, head west on Broadway Ave, which will become Highway 20, and follow it west until you reach mile marker 287. Look for the signed left turn for the Lava Trail and turn left. A dirt road will make a few forks as soon as you turn in and then also along the way to the trailhead. Head left at each fork and you’ll reach the trailhead after 0.2 miles.

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