Take a Trip to the Moon

Craters of the Moon in IdahoTake a trip to the moon right here on Earth. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in West Central Idaho was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions and massive lava flows between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago. The 618 square mile park so similarly resembles the moons surface that astronauts for Nasa, Alan Sheperd, Edgar Mitchell, Eugene Cernan, and Joe Engle, trained in the park for their missions in 1969. Although the area appears benign, activity along the fault lines and historical eruptions approximately every 2,000 years indicate the area is due for another eruption very soon.North Crater Moon

The park is open year round, though snowfall in the winter can close the loop road. There are several caves in the park formed from lava flows, 5 of which you can explore with a permit obtained at the visitors center. Other caves are considered dangerous and are off limits to recreational use. All around the park you can see lava cones, craters, tunnels, caves, and lava bombs formed from the many instances of seismic activity. Lava bombs, blobs of lava spewed into the air by eruptions, of every shape known to scientists are scattered throughout the park.

Prickly Pear CactusPioneers in the mid 1800’s travelled the area on Goodale’s Cutoff, a section of the Oregon Trail. One of these pioneers documented his encounter with the area, referring to the expanse of black ground as “the Devil’s Vomit.” Craters of the Moon has been nominated by a multitude of publications as one of the top places to take your kids while they are young. Cinque Foil FlowersWhat 10 year old boy won’t be enticed by visiting “the moon” and “the devil’s vomit”. Little girls will be enticed by the enchantment of the area, as well as the idea of wild flowers that can grow from the rocks. Kids with an adventurous spirit will be excited to climb through caves and tunnels formed by lava. Bring your family any time of year, but be prepared for extreme heat

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