Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho

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Craters of the Moon National Monument

The unique landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve can be found roughly 250 miles or 4 hours southwest of Big Sky, MT.

  • The Crater of the Moon Monument and Preserve remains open all year.
  • Each season provides a different look and feel to the Park .
  • A fee is charged to enter the Monument during the warmer months and there is a separate fee for using the campground.

Overview

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve has features so alike the moon that Apollo 14 astronauts came to the site in 1969 to study the rock surfaces and features. The Monument and Preserve covers 53,120 acres of the northern Snake River Plain.

"A weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself" is how President Calvin Coolidge described Craters of the Moon when he established this National Monument in 1924. Craters of the Moon is perhaps the only officially "weird" park in the National Park System.

Hours/Seasons

The Monument and Preserve remains open all year, although winter snows prevent automobile access around the Loop Road from mid-November through mid-April. When the road is open, it remains open at all hours.

The Visitor Center is open year-round from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day through the weekend after Labor Day); Closed on federal holidays during the winter.

Each season provides a different look and feel to the Park. From the springtime wildflowers to the ecological winter snowshoe excursions, there is something to see and do all year long.

Arco, Idaho sits about 20 miles northeast of Craters of the Moon and provides the closest accommodations (other than camping) and food to the monument.

Fees/Cost

Entrance Fees

  • The entrance fee is $10 per vehicle.
  • Those entering by bicycle, motorcycle or foot pay $5 per person.
  • Individuals age 15 and under enter free.
  • Fees are also charged for commercial tour vehicles.
  • Credit cards are accepted.
  • There is no fee when the loop drive is closed in the winter time.
  • Some National Park Passes are accepted for entrance to the Monument. Contact the park at 208-527-1300 for specific information.

Camping Fees

There is a 52 site campground among the lava formations beyond the visitor center. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis for $15 per night per campsite ($8 per campsite in the early and late season when no water is available).

A separate group campsite is available for $30 per night. The group site can be reserved by contacting the park at: 208-527-1300.

Contact

Visitor Information (208) 527-1300
Headquarters (208) 527-1300

Highlights

Spring, Summer and Fall activities include a stop at the Visitor’s Center to enjoy the exhibits, view the films and chat with staff about anything they would suggest or information that they may have to make your visit more enjoyable.

To take a driving tour of the Craters, travel the 7 miles loop road which will give you a taste of this vast and unusual landscape. This loop road is closed in the winter.

Several hikes are mapped within the Park. These include the North Crater Flow trail, Spatter Cones and Devil's Orchard Trails. Other trails that will take longer to complete include the Indian Tunnel and the Broken Top Loop or Tree Molds Trails.

In the winter the Visitor’s Center is closed and the 7-mile loop road is closed to vehicles. However, the loop road makes an excellent cross country ski and snow shoe trail.

Getting Here

To get from the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve to Big Sky, MT, travel east on US-20/US-26/US-93. AT the junction of Front Street in Arco, turn right and continue to follow US-20. After reaching Idaho Falls, get on US 26 and travel the remaining distance to Big Sky, MT. The total trip is approximately 250 miles and will nearly four hours.

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