North Crater Trail is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Arco, Idaho that features a cave and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from May until September.

Length3.5 miElevation gain666 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingCaveViewsRockyFee
Description
Waypoints (0)

Craters of the Moon National Monument charges a fee to enter. Fees are $20 per vehicle or $15 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is $10 per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass for $35. This one-way trail is especially interesting for its variety. The trail traverses North Crater and drops into the crater mouth, the vent for the North Crater flow. Notice that the northwest flank of North Crater is missing. An eruption tore the wall apart, and a series of flows rafted the fragments away. The trail continues to the rim of Big Craters before descending to the Spatter Cones. No off-trail travel is permitted in the Big Craters area in order to protect fragile lava formations.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (114)
Photos (196)
Activities (99)
Completed (233)
View user's profile page
David Wagner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 25, 2021
HikingGreat!Snow

Unfortunately, Loop Road wasn’t open to vehicles yet so I had to hike from the visitor center. I got a really late start at 5:30pm but that left the entire park to myself! I walked Loop Road all the way to Inferno, Snow, and Spatter Cones because the North Flow Trail at the northern end had 1-2 feet of snow and I had no snowshoes. As an amateur geologist, I can’t tell you how exciting it was to have the chance to hike into actual volcanoes! The landscape of this area, backdropped by the Pioneer Mountains, produced magnificent views. I started running low on daylight so I had to head back. Yet I noticed the southern end of North Flow Trail was free of snow, a shorter hike than Loop Road, and would take me by Big Craters. I decided to try it, and was I ever rewarded! Hiking along the rim of Big Craters has been one of the most favorite hikes of my life. It was so cool to hike along the rim and look down into those massive craters and then see the Pioneer Mountains to my left. I spent so much time there that I actually had to finish my hike with my headlamp and in the deep snow at the north end, which made it near impossible to know where the trail was. But I made it back to Loop Toad and finished the hike to my car under moonlight - how appropriate for this park! I thought I had never heard of this park but then discovered from my dad that our family actually went through this park when I was seven. It must have been overshadowed by all the other parks we visited on that trip for the first time, like the Grand Canyon, haha!

View David's activity
View user's profile page
Aaron Perez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 29, 2020
Hiking

Made it just before sunset, lucked out with a clear day. Some parts of trail were closed but still able to do about half of it. Short and scenic.

View Aaron's activity
View user's profile page
rapid roller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2020
Hiking

Pretty cool trail! At Big Craters, there is a sign that says do not enter. I highly recommend entering that part and circling around the rim of the crater. That was the most breathtaking part of this journey by far. also, if you don't feel like walking back the same path, you can follow the road around instead for the return journey.

View rapid's activity
View user's profile page
Julie Watson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 22, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

This is THE trail in craters! It’s lovely and out of this world! Lots of up and down and lava rock everywhere. Just truly fantastic.

View user's profile page
Matthew W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

Good variety of volcanic landscapes. Took under two hours even with taking lots of pictures. Wasn't crowded at all in October. Some slippery gravel portions.

View user's profile page
Charlene Fairchild
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking
View Charlene's activity
View user's profile page
Jeff Scott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking
View Jeff's activity
View user's profile page
David Hartwell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking
View David 's activity
View user's profile page
Michael Watt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
HikingNo shade

Very neat trail with a lot of great views giving you a good perspective of how unique the place really is. It is consistent decent elevation gain on the out and more loss on the way back. Did it in about 1hr45m which accounts for stopping to take pictures etc.

View user's profile page
Aric Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 26, 2020
Skiing

Trail was just ok. I’d call this a low moderate difficulty. I would have liked it more had there been some additional informational signage to talk about how the craters formed and all that.

View Aric's activity
View user's profile page
William Bowen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 17, 2020
Hiking
View William's activity
View user's profile page
Melanie Hoang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
Hiking
View Melanie's activity
View user's profile page
Sam Milewsky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking
View Sam's activity
View user's profile page
Agata Zawierucha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful..

View Agata's activity
View user's profile page
Eric Moss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking
View Eric's activity
View user's profile page
Jeff Ward
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking
View Jeff's activity
View user's profile page
Zach Nybo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!

September - Late Summer This is one of the more popular hikes for walking over this alien landscape, and it’s pretty cool! You get to walk across the cinder craters, lava flows, and it takes you right up to the spatter cones at the end. It’s all very interesting to see the landscape and at times it does feel like you are walking on a different planet. My only complaint is that it is out and back. This trail is definitely worth it, but it gets a little boring having to walk back through everything you’ve already seen.

View Zach's activity
View user's profile page
Marzia Della Corte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
WalkingGreat!
View Marzia's activity
View user's profile page
John Elsner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking
View John's activity
View user's profile page
Andrew Gehring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking
View Andrew's activity
View user's profile page
Stacey W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
HikingGreat!
View Stacey's activity
View user's profile page
Ron Fechtner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 16, 2020
Hiking
View Ron's activity
View user's profile page
Benjamin Cox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
HikingNo shade

Great crater views. Interesting rocks to look at along the way. Nice part over a lava flow. Up and down will raise your heart rate. Not a difficult trail though.

View Benjamin's activity
View user's profile page
Sara Darrow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020

Hiked this on 7/13/2020. Very scenic and variable, really interesting. Started at 9 am and with a strong wind we stayed cool the whole time.

View user's profile page
Sam Konowitch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Running

I found this to be a fun little trail. A variety of views for different craters, climbs and descents, and a technical path over lava tubes. No shade, but easy enough to go out and back. If that's too much and you've got two cars, you can park one at each end of the trailheads and make it a one way hike.

View user's profile page
MiniHouseBigLiving (RV Living)
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

You’ll have some service on this trail, so no need to download the map. No shade - bring water. The hike is moderately strenuous as you are consistently hiking up, down, and back up again, but take it slow and pause for breaks and you’ll be fine. It was a bit slippery with all the loose rocks/sand. I loved the views and thought the hike was worth it — my hiking buddy would not agree. Haha — she was not a fan of this hike due to slipping a couple times.

View user's profile page
Elizabeth Foss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky
View Elizabeth's activity
Showing results 1 - 27 of 114