A Lunar Landscape at Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon National Monument Landscape Volcano Cones

618 square miles of magma. That is the size of the lava field at Craters of the Moon National Park in south-central Idaho. Large enough that it stretches as far as the eye can see in some spots, giving the impression of a barren, black world.

The entire field isn’t just one lava flow, but 60. At least 25 different volcanoes contributed to its construction some 15,000 to 2,000 years ago – a mere blink of an eye in geologic terms.

Visitors climb Inferno Cone, the remnants of a now dormant volcano.

Craters of the Moon Inferno Cone Landscape Climb

Shannon explores a “lava tube”; one of several in the park.

Craters of the Moon Exploring Lava Tubes

Bring a flashlight and good boots; these volcanic rock caves are completely undeveloped but totally worth a look.

Craters of the Moon Lava Tube

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18 Comments on “A Lunar Landscape at Craters of the Moon”

  1. Pat Bailey November 9, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Thanks, Brian. I wasn’t aware that this existed. Very interesting. When I first saw the first picture I expected you to tell us that this was scaring of the earth to mine something. Sorry corporate America – I was quick to assume.


    • Brian November 11, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      We’ve seen that too (like in Missoula, MT) and understand why you might have thought that.


  2. dorseyml November 9, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    My bf is from Idaho, and in June he was able to show me some wonderful parts of the state, including Craters of the Moon! (and I too thought it was blog worthy) Your photos are really cool! They remind me of the ones we took… It is fun to read your blog posts because it brings back the memories of when I went there. Another beautiful wonderful place in Idaho is the shoshone falls. If you haven’t been there yet, it is worth the visit.


    • Brian November 11, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      We went to Shoshone (The Niagara of the West) only it wasn’t so Niagaray because the water flow slows to a trickle in the fall. It’s still pretty wonderful, but we have to return in the spring when it rages in all its glory. Must be incredible.


      • dorseyml November 11, 2012 at 11:43 am #

        yes it is! Glad you got the chance to make it out there at least once… My bf and I actually want to make a trip out to Yellowstone in the winter time. I heard it is beautiful then, and the rumor is that you can snowmobile to get around the park.


  3. Idaho Travel Council (@IDTravelCouncil) November 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Craters is really difficult to photograph, you did a wonderful job. Thanks for the post


  4. denisediscovers November 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Nature is awe-inspiring, and places like this really remind me of the power of our earth.


  5. Arizona girl November 11, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    We sort of stumbled upon this park while living in northern Utah and loved it!


  6. Les Petits Pas de Juls November 11, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    As each post you write brings a smile to my face, I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award! See here for more details : http://lespetitspasdejuls.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/let-the-sun-shine-in/

    Have a wonderful day! and keep making us all curious about everywhere you go!


  7. black and white photography November 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Great blog. I am so jealous! This is whats great about the internet. Keep it up.


  8. backthewaywecame November 12, 2012 at 2:21 am #

    I had no idea this existed. It’s a great photo.


  9. Sid Dunnebacke November 12, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Heh. I had a similar reaction as Pat above seeing that first picture. You’re exposing me to places in my own country I didn’t know of previously. Great stuff here, you two!


  10. cityoftheweek November 16, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    it’s like these shots weren’t even taken on Earth! 😀


  11. NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad) November 18, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    what a great place to explore. Was it slippery in the volcanic rock caves?


    • Brian November 18, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      No more so than any other undeveloped cave, and probably a bit less because many “normal” caves are naturally wet.


  12. mjculverphotography November 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks for checking out our site. Great that the two of you are traveling and seeing the world. We will enjoy reading about your adventures.

    Marks and Joey



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