Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon - Hiking Idaho

 

Impressive volcanic formations at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, USA.

 

 

Spatter Cones and the Snow Cone are southwest past Inferno Cone at the next stop along the one-way loop road in Craters of the Moon National Monument.

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA

 

The pair of miniature volcanoes are accessible by a short, paved trail which makes a flat approach, then curls up the side and into a fenced viewpoint into the small crater.  The close proximity makes a good photograph difficult to capture.

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA The short paved trail to, and up into, the view inside the crater of a Spatter Cone

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA Approaching the Spatter Cone crater in Craters of the Moon National Monument

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA The wall at the top of the Spatter Cone crater - rugged with brilliant color

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA Looking over the protective railing and down into the Spatter Cone crater

 

The Snow Cone is adjacent to the two Spatter Cones and accessible by another very short trail.  A viewing platform provides an expansive view of the stark, surrounding terrain.  The Snow Cone is a third Spatter Cone where the small, narrow, and deep crater allows snow to reside in the bottom year round.

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA The Snow Cone is a Spatter Cone with snow in the bottom year round

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA Inferno Cone from the base of the Spatter Cones in Craters of the Moon National Monument

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA Approaching the Snow Cone in Craters of the Moon National Monument

 

The signage at  Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idahois impressive, informing visitors of length, elevation and grade.  Many of the trails are suitable for small children, the elderly and people using wheelchairs or other navigation assistance. 

Craters of the Moon National Monument is a unique and beautiful place to learn a lot about how a planet evolves.  The terrain surrounding the Spatter Cones is unusually rugged with evidence of upheaval creating lava bridges and large areas of lava flow.

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA Lava bridges created at the base of the Spatter Cones

 

Another trail-head (or terminus) at the Spatter Cone parking area is the North Crater Trail between the North Crater Flow Trail and the Spatter Cones.  This opportunity is reluctantly declined based on the length of time which would be required to hike this more aggressive 3.5 mile (5.6 KM) alternative which provides spectacular views of the Silent Cone and the Big Craters.  

The North Crater Trail requires two vehicles or a shuttle service and the short, single day allocation of time here prevents complete participation.

 

Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA Spatter Cones - Craters of the Moon National Monument - Idaho, USA

 

Continuing the drive along the one-way loop road to the Broken Top Loop Trail and the Tree Molds Trail, one stop provides images of the Spatter Cones from a distance with the diversity of the lava flows in the foreground as plants begin to establish a future landscape.

 

 

 

 

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