Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is located in central Idaho, namely in the Snake River plain. This U.S. National Monument and national preserve is 5,900 ft. above sea level.
It is located along US 20, between Arco and Carey, two small towns. The monument and preserve includes portions of Blaine, Butte, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Power counties.
The entire monument covers 53,571 acres. A total 1,117 square miles (2,893 km2) are covered with sagebrush steppe grasslands plus three major lava fields. The place features fascinating examples of rift cracks including the deepest known on Earth at 800 ft. (240m).
The Moon National Monument and Preserve was established on May 2, 1924. In 2000, during Clinton's administration, the monument was expanded to include all of the Great Rift zones.
Around 2000 years ago, the area came to be. A volcanic explosion created the Broken Top Flow. Laden with a rich history that starts with Lewis and Clark crossing northern Idaho en route to the Pacific Ocean, this is a place to visit.
The monument is located in a volcanic area, the Snake River Plain. In fact, this plain was created by a series of cataclysmic eruptions that formed a caldera-like structure about 15 million years ago. The last volcanic activity was registered about 2000 years ago.
The oldest flows in the Craters of the Moon Lava Fields are as old as 15,000 years. The volcanic features are dormant. Geologists agree that the next volcanic activity is expected to take place in about 900 years.
The constant dry winds and the hot black lava soil make it hard for plants to thrive. Temperatures in the soil can exceed 150°F (66°C). There are presently 375 species known to grow within the area.
The animals include 48 mammals, 169 birds, 8 reptiles, one amphibian, and 2000 species of insects.