Craters of the Moon Scenic Loop on Motorcycle

Explore The Moon Scenic on Motorcycle

The Craters of the Moon Tour in Idaho is a unique adventure through an unusual national park. Volcanic activity shaped the area. However, this is not from a single volcano. Instead, the eruptions occur from cracks in the earth’s crust. 

So you will see lava fields, lava tubes, the inferno cone, and the twin falls. The scenic loop road, weather permitting, is a seven-mile road that passes by some of the park’s more impressive viewpoints, trails, and caves. So be prepared to stop often and explore. Loop Road begins and ends at the visitor center. 

Read on to learn all you need to know about the Craters of the Moon Tour in Idaho.

Quick Travel Information

Craters of the Moon National Monument is located at 1266 Craters Loop Road, Arco, ID 83213. The park is generally open year-round and 24 hours a day. However, the scenic Loop Road is available only when weather conditions permit. Loop Road typically opens in April and closes in November. 

Craters of the Moon experiences hot summers and cold winters. Summer temperatures will climb into the 90s and bake the black lava fields to a surface temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit. In the height of winter, it is common to see a snow depth of 26 inches at the north end of the park and 2 inches at the southern end.

The National Park Service charges $20 per car, $15 per motorcycle, and $10 per person on foot. All fees are good for seven consecutive days. Military veterans are admitted free of charge to all national parks. Bring your veteran’s ID card or a copy of your DD-214 separation papers.

The park has 25 campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Journey to Inferno Cone

One of the park’s most impressive hikes is the Inferno Cone trail. The entire route is a half-mile round trip. The hike takes you across the black lava fields to the top of a crater with spectacular views. You can spot the Teton Range 100 miles away on a clear day. 

The park is known for its occasional high winds in the early afternoon. Be wary of taking this hike in high winds as lava from the fields may be blown loose and create a hazardous condition. 

Explore the Caves

There are six caves that visitors are allowed to explore in the park, including:

  • Beauty Cave
  • Boy Scout Cave
  • Buffalo Cave
  • Dew Drop Cave
  • Indian Tunnel

You will need to get a free permit to explore any of the caves. The permit involves noninvasive screening for a fungus that is dangerous to the bats residing in the caves. 

All the caves, save the Buffalo Cave, can be reached along the Caves Trail. The Caves Trail requires no special ability and is approximately two and a half miles long. Take the Broken Top Loop Trail to explore the Buffalo Cave. As the name suggests, this trail is more challenging. 

Before you go spelunking, it is advisable to speak with the rangers. The Indian Tunnel requires very little skill. There are ladders to aid your descent and ascent. However, the Boy Scout Cave and the Buffalo Cave need more technical ability. 

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