I wasn’t expecting to see these rugged, barren lava fields when I visited southeastern Idaho. The aptly named Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is about an 85 mile drive from Idaho Falls.
The craters, cinder cones, lava tubes and other lava rock features were created by volcanic activity that probably began 15,000 years ago and continued until about 2,000 years ago. When President Calvin Coolidge established the area as a national monument in 1924, he referred to it as “a weird and scenic landscape, peculiar to itself”.
In 1969, astronauts visited Craters of the Moon to study volcanic geology and the harsh environment in preparation for future trips to the moon. Can you see why?
For more information: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Interesting. It looks an eerily attractive kind of place. The astronauts also used Iceland to prepare for the moon – also a bit desolate, but looks quite different from this.
Great photos (^_^)
Wow! Really unusual landscape I never seen before. Glad your volcanic activity has settled down there.
Um- YES! I can totally see why… how fantastic. I have always been fascinated with traveling to the moon- that weight feeling would be so weird. Unfortunately my parents never sent me to space camp even though I really wanted to go! This might be second best to visit idaho!
How fun to visit a place like this and pretend you’re on another planet! =)
Very appropriate name, I never would have guessed that it was in Idaho.
We wanted to visit this park on our way through Idaho last year, but didn’t really have the time. It is definitely on our list!
We ran into some volcanic destruction east of Bend, OR that was very similar and equally impressive. I will have to stop at this park next time we’re in Idaho.
Oops, I meant west of Bend, Oregon!
Amazing shots, Cathy. I’ve never even heard of this place. I especially like the middle photo!
This looks fantastic! One of these day I am going to have see more of the U.S. This would definitely be on my list.
I’ve always wanted to make a side trip to that place – kind of desolate looking but that’s what one should expect judging from the moon photos. Does the place become a furnace in the summer?
Wow, this is beautiful, Cathy. Who would’ve thought this was here in the US?
Thanks for sharing.
Really interesting place! And as you said, who would guess Idaho could look like that?!
I hiked most of the trails there two days ago, and I agree that it is an amazing place. The quiet down in the craters is wonderful, and there isn’t much to compare with the first moment when you pop out of the little hole to escape from Indian Cave and think “Um, where am I”…
Thank you for the photos and the writeup. Truly a great place!
Amazing what mother nature has to offer us through out the world.
The USA has it’s fare share of wonders.
Good job on the pictures – it is barren for sure!
Look forward to more posts.
John D. Wilson
This is very interesting, what a strange landscape, for a moment reading the title I thought “wow, that is extreme travel” 😛
I actually never knew this was here. I’m sorry I missed it!
Too bad they don’t have lunar rover rentals!
Fascinating place. I had never heard of Craters of the Moon but how awesome that astronauts used this place!
Amazing! You’d feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie. Great shots Cathy! 🙂
Wow, I can definitely see why! Such a vast, empty space. My dad’s travelling across the US at the moment for three weeks, east to west, starting in Chicago. I’ll text him some tips from your blog. 🙂
Thanks very much! Hope you’re Dad enjoys his trip cross country.
Thanks for your comments. Craters of the Moon is a great experience — and not all that well known. Hope you all get a chance to check it out first-hand.