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North Crater Flow

Aa lava rocks rising above vegetation growing out of the lava along the North Crater Flow Trail. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

The North Crater Flow Trail is an easy 0.3 mile loop in Craters of the Moon National Monument that makes an excellent intro into the park. As the first trail encountered after entering the park, you’ll be introduced to various features of the lava seen elsewhere throughout the landscape.

North Crater Flow Trail Description

The North Crater Flow Trail officially begins near the middle of the parking lot. You’ll wind along a paved boardwalk elevated above the lava flow. Signs and information line the path with valuable information about the features within the lava and the park as a whole.

The first feature pointed out is a form of lava called pahoehoe (pronounced pa-hoy-hoy). This is where the lava was pushed into itself, causing it to ripple. You’ll see plenty of this as well as the next in the national monument.

Old Twisted Tree in Lava Flow
An old twisted tree growing out of a crack in the North Crater Lava Flow. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

As you continue along, you wander into lava that’s much more jagged. At the opposite end of the trail are large house-sized rocks carried down from a prior eruption. This area is known as aa lava (pronounced ah-ah).

Continuing along the loop, you’ll make an easy ascent back up to the parking area where the North Crater Flow Trail finishes looping around.

Getting There

From the Visitor Center, head south along the main road for 0.6 miles. Look for the parking area on your right.

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Mike@FreeRoamingPhotography.com