Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

May 22, 2008 

COURTESY PHOTO

Visitors can marvel at the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve's three major lava fields, 250,000 acres of rugged grasslands and more than 600 square miles of basaltic lava fields.

While the preserve might conjure visions of a jagged and desolate wasteland, the area flourishes with a vast array of vegetation, wildlife and scenery.

How to get there: Take I-84 to the Mountain Home exit for U.S. 20. Follow that east to the national monument. It's 18 miles west of Arco, so plan about four hours to get there, three and a half if you really hurry.

Activities: Hiking, biking, bird watching, backpacking; and in winter, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing.

Amenities: Fifty-two sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Water, restrooms, charcoal grills and picnic tables are provided. There are no hookups or showers. While charcoal fires are permitted, wood fires are not. The visitor center is stocked with snack and soda machines and a pay phone.

Nearest place to get supplies: Arco is 18 miles east on Idaho 20/26/93.

Fees/reservations: Use your National Parks Pass or Golden Pass for free park entry. The entrance fee is $8 per vehicle. Those entering by bicycle, motorcycle or on foot pay $4. People age 16 and under enter free. Credit cards are not accepted. The camping fee is $10 per night per campsite. Wilderness camping permits are required for overnight stays outside the campground. The free permits are available at the Robert Limbert Visitor Center.

Information: National Park Service Park Headquarters, P.O. Box 29, Arco, ID 83213; phone: (208) 527-3257. Go to www.nps.gov/crmo/. The Robert Limbert Visitor Center is open year-round.

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