Adventure, Homeschool

Craters of the Moon National Monument

This is part of our series chronicling our journey through the United States. If you have a National Parks pass this park is FREE to enjoy!

This one is a wee bit harder to get to so if you plan on visiting, I suggest staying in the nearby town of Arco. You can grab a reasonably priced, better than your average diner, burger from Pickle’s Place. We stayed at the Mountain View RV Park and Restaurant. We didn’t try the restaurant but the pull through, full hook up spot was nice to have after a very long day of driving.

Once we got to our campground though, it was an easy hop over to the park. The park itself has a campground just across from the Visitor’s Center but I really wanted those full hook ups. And this is where I’m going to apologize for the lack of pictures. There is A LOT to take in at this park but we only had one day here and it was at the height of Bishop’s health problems. Instead of having a camera in my hand, I spent most of the day holding on to him in case he blacked out. The heat definitely didn’t help.

So okay…Craters of the Moon. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this park. It isn’t exactly one of those parks that you grow up hearing about…but maybe it should be.

If we call the geyser fields in Yellowstone otherworldly, Craters of the Moon is downright alien. It’s funny actually because the whole way there, we were driving down this perfectly normal road and commenting about how we could picture bandits and maybe a Texas ranger or two riding over the hills and through the scrubby brush. As we pulled into the park, the were obviously some pretty strange rocks strewn about, but it was almost like someone had just tumbled some props from a disaster movie onto the wrong set.

This might be the first time that we pulled into a Visitor’s Center ready to be disappointed. But we weren’t! The Visitor’s Center was small but engaging, and the kids spent a lot longer here than we initially planned. There were exhibits, books, movies, and air conditioning. Air conditioning is definitely a thing during the summer months when you’re walking on barren lava fields without a single tree for shade.

The main part of the park is actually a drivable loop with parking lot pull offs at the main points of interest. There’s everything from fields of lava to an actual cone and even lave tubes. If you are driving through southeastern Idaho, this is definitely an interesting stop.

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