On our way from Yellowstone to Boise, we made an overnight stop at Craters of the Moon National Preserve in Idaho. Walking through the lava field you really did feel as if you had left earth! In 1923 geologist Harold T Sterns described this area as “the surface of the moon as seen through a telescope.” He also added, “the dark craters and cold lava were nearly destitute of vegetation.”
The lava here comes from many deep fissures known as the Great Rift. Lava welled up from the Great Rift and produced this vast ocean of rock. We enjoyed the interactive display in the visitor center which showed this areas connection to the volcanic activity in the Yellowstone area. We watched a short film on how this area was formed and completed the Junior Ranger program.
Since we were camping right in the lava fields we rode our bikes on the seven mile Loop Road to truly experience the vastness of the lava. We climbed a cinder cone and were reminded of the two types of lava we learned about at Valley of Fire in New Mexico. (Pahoehoe- smooth and rope like and A’a- thicker and crusty.)
While this place looks barren from afar there actually many plants and animals that live here. We enjoyed looking at the vegetation. Some of it reminded us of the plants in the movie the Lorax. We were glad we had taken the time to stop at this unique place.