Craters Of The Moon National Monument

Craters Of The Moon

Located in Idaho between the towns of Arco and Carey, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a U.S. national monument and national preserve in the Snake River Plain in central Idaho. The park has an average elevation of 5,900 feet above sea level. This is the only IDA recognized dark sky park in the Pacific Northwest!

There is really cool history to the area as in 1969, Apollo 14 astronauts prepared for their trip to the moon, also a volcanic landscape, with a visit to Craters. They learned how to select volcanic samples to bring back to earth and how to navigate a lava environment. NASA research continues at Craters of the Moon today. [1]
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Astronomy events at Craters of the Moon. Tour the heavens above by taking part in a Star Party, held each spring and fall. The Idaho Falls Astronomical Society hosts these popular events and provides telescopes and sky viewing expertise. Also during the summer, ranger-led full moon hikes take advantage of the natural lightscape to explore connections between this ‘unearthly landscape’ and our closest celestial neighbor.

Other than astronomy, Craters of the Moon National Monument serves as a great place to go camping, hike, and explore the wilderness. There are several miles of hikes spread across different areas that provide diverse views and landscapes! For those who enjoy caving, there are several options as well!

For a list of more things to do and activities, check out the official agency website. To check out our other unique astronomical sites, check out this link with all the information.



Entry Fees:

  • Vehicle $20
  • Motorcycle $15
  • Walk in/ Bicycle $10 (15 and under free)

Permits Accepted:

  • Interagency Annual Pass: $80
  • Interagency Senior Pass: $80
  • Interagency Senior Annual Pass: $20
  • Craters of the Moon Pass: $35
  • Interagency Access Pass: Free
  • Interagency 4th Grader Pass: Free

Overnight Accommodations

Lava Flow Campground 
  • Typically Open May 30th to Late November
  • 42 first come, first serve sites. No reservations accepted
  • $15 per site during the main season and $8 per site when water is not turned on to the campground.
  • Credit cards accepted at automated facilities. Costs lower for certain passes and during April and November.

Other options can be found here for sites around Craters of the Moon. There are wilderness areas, for which can be found here. There is also NPS Preserve and BLM Monument land available as well.

Dark Sky Charts

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