Echo Crater

Arco, Idaho

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In Idaho’s only national monument, you can witness very uncommon terrain. A moonscape of beautiful, tormented, colorful lava introduces the Great Rift—a huge volcanic fissure in the earth’s surface. Unique desert, blooming flowers, and lava landscapes highlight this area for hikes of varied distances. After leaving the parking lot, the paved trail quickly becomes dirt and cinders. In a little over 0.25 mile, the Wilderness Trail leaves the main Tree Molds Trail from the right (northeast) and heads down a short steep bank. It circles Broken Top, where the Buffalo Caves are located off trail on the right (west). It then leads over an iridescent blue pahoehoe lava flow to begin to skirt Big Cinder Butte

Echo Crater Professional Review and Guide

"In Idaho’s only national monument, you can witness very uncommon terrain. A moonscape of beautiful, tormented, colorful lava introduces the Great Rift—a huge volcanic fissure in the earth’s surface. Unique desert, blooming flowers, and lava landscapes highlight this area for hikes of varied distances.

After leaving the parking lot, the paved trail quickly becomes dirt and cinders. In a little over 0.25 mile, the Wilderness Trail leaves the main Tree Molds Trail from the right (northeast) and heads down a short steep bank. It circles Broken Top, where the Buffalo Caves are located off trail on the right (west). It then leads over an iridescent blue pahoehoe lava flow to begin to skirt Big Cinder Butte"

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Arco
Distance: 10
Elevation Gain: 656 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: Either a day hike or overnight
Season: Best late May and June; early fall.
Trailhead Elevation: 5,860 feet
Top Elevation: 6,516 feet
Local Contacts: Craters of the Moon National Monument, (208) 527-3257, www.nps.gov/crmo
Local Maps: Inferno Cone, The Watchman, and Fissure Butte USGS quadrangles

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Jun 2018