Craters of the Moon

Arco Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 18 › view all entries
Big Butte

I-20 in Idaho is a long and empty road with little to look at.  Partway through the state, I came upon three large buttes sticking up on the landscape - finally something to break up the flat country!  I was on my way to Craters of the Moon National Monument - described by President Calvin Coolidge as "a wierd and scenic landscape peculiar to itself" when he established it as a National Monument in 1924.  The astronauts trained here before heading to the moon in 1969 because it was thought this terrain resembled the surface of the moon (they were wrong). 

I drove through the park and climbed to the top of North Crater.  The view from there is great.  The trail is a bit steep, so not too many people were up there.

North Crater trail
  And it was really windy up there.  I drove the loop and stopped to hike the Caves Trail.  I wanted to explore some of the lava tube caves, but I didn't have much of a flashlight with me.  I hiked out to Boy Scout Cave and didn't pass anyone on the trail.  I was by myself and realized that if something happened to me, it might be a while before someone came along.  It would be so easy to get lost out there.  Black lava extends as far as the eye can see.  And it is deceiving - it looks flat, but up close, there are many bumps and ridges along the way.  I popped in Boy Scout Cave and didn't even make it to where I couldn't see light from the entrence.  It was a little scary.  All alone, very dark, rocks everywhere, loose rocks, water dripping, did I mention all alone?  I climbed down a short drop and after almost hitting my head, I decided it was too dangerous to be in there alone and went back out. 

So back outside, I finished driving through the park and took off.  I was going to camp there, but I decided to see how much further I could drive.  Off to Oregon!

WaltJake says:
I was there with a buddy of mine in '98...we were also the only ones there, and if you held your breath, there was no SOUND anywhere! no birds, no bugs, nothing! Was kinda creepy (we also didn't venture too far into the tubes, for the same reason...not enough light!)
Posted on: May 11, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Big Butte
Big Butte
North Crater trail
North Crater trail
Three Buttes - three lava domes al…
Three Buttes - three lava domes a…
Mountains and sage brush near park…
Mountains and sage brush near par…
View from North Crater
View from North Crater
So true!
So true!
Lava formations on the North Crate…
Lava formations on the North Crat…
The Caves Trail - out to lava tube…
The Caves Trail - out to lava tub…
Tetons as seen from Montana
Tetons as seen from Montana
Arco
photo by: smhirsch