Pacific Northwest - Day 15 - Hell’s Half Acre Trail, Hawaiian landscape in Idaho

Hell’s Half Acre Trail-ID Travel Blog

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After all the snow is a cactus a welcome variation

We left Yellowstone National Park past noon. Just in time since the sky had turned deep black and almost immediately after leaving the area a huge rain storm commenced. In the meantime we had entered the state of Idaho again and started our long descent from the +2000-meter (+6500-ft) high plateau on which Yellowstone is located to the lower lands of Idaho and Utah.

To our joy the descent yielded a higher temperature which went up from 2° C (36 F) that morning to 26° C (29 F) that evening in Salt Lake City. It showed when we had our lunch along a rural road, when we discovered real cactuses.

But, that was not the biggest surprise of that day. When we had reached the Interstate 15 we had not thought that we would do yet another hike today. But we did! Just north of Pocatello I felt the need for a stop and pulled over at a random rest area. One like any other; with benches, tourist info, restrooms, soda machines, etcetera. See it here on the map.

Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
But, to our huge surprise this rest area was on a lava field. And the authorities had even marked a lava hike. Not long, just 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) but so unexpected and beautiful. 

The lava field is called Hell's Half Acre Lava Field. It is about 390 km2 (150 square miles) in size and about 5260 years old. Long ago the hot spot of the volcanoes was here and caused the flows. The lava field reminded us deeply of the much younger and beautiful lava fields on Hawaii like the La Pérouse Bay field on Maui or the floor of the Kilaueau Iki Crater on the Big Island.

There are in fact three trails. Two small ones on each side of Interstate 15, and a long one in the Northern section of the lava field, which is designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

We enjoyed our hike and together with the ease we could arrive in this vacation's other Idaho highlight, the Old Mission State Park, I would almost think that Idaho offers the best accessible hikes in the country... ;)

We arrived in Salt Lake City late in the evening. Too late to do anything other than have dinner and go to bed.

More pictures below!




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After all the snow is a cactus a w…
After all the snow is a cactus a …
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
After all the snow is a cactus a w…
After all the snow is a cactus a …
Idaho landscape
Idaho landscape
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Lava fields, not Hawaii but Idaho!
Our hike through the Idaho Lava fi…
Our hike through the Idaho Lava f…
Hell’s Half Acre Trail-ID
photo by: mdalamers