After many years spent living in Idaho we finally decided to check out Craters of the Moon. What an incredible experience! We are kicking ourselves that we didn’t check this place out sooner though. As this website describes, “Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush.” How cool is that! After reading this article this is going to end up on your bucket list!
Where to stay:
We had the opportunity to stay at Champagne Creek Lodge & Yurts. Listed on Airbnb, it is perfectly located near the entrance to Craters of the Moon. Not only is it located near the National Park, but the area has amazing hikes, caves, and even a ‘semi-secret’ hot springs! We had the entire lodge to ourselves the first night that we stayed, where we enjoyed playing pool, an intense match of ping pong, and sitting on the deck star gazing. We stayed in the Mine Hill Room which had a comfortable bed and rustic ranch decor where we slept great.
The next morning we sleepily stumbled into the huge kitchen and discovered farm fresh eggs were provided. Having breakfast on the deck watching the sun rise from behind the distant mountains proved to be the best way to start off our day full of adventure.
In addition to the Lodge, which could be a used as a couples retreat, friend getaway, or even a family reunion, they also have a yurt on the ranch! What used to be an extensive library has now become a unique Airbnb destination. Book a stay to get away from it all and enjoy chilling in a one of a kind yurt nestled between Quaking Aspen trees.
When visiting make sure to carefully read the driving directions because google maps pulled up the incorrect address for us. The owners of Champagne Creek Lodge provide very detailed instructions so just follow those rather than gamble with google maps.
Craters of the Moon
When I first heard the name the picture in my head was very different from what it actually is. Very much surprised when we arrived, the striking features felt otherworldly. You could spend days in the park but because we were on a time schedule we took the loop road where there are 7 key stops. Take a moment at each one because everyone is unique, and offers trails or incredible lookout vantage points.
One of the coolest parts of the park is the Inferno Cone. This is stop number 4 if you are taking the loop drive. Dare to hike to the top! It’s a pretty steep climb but you will be rewarded with a fantastic 360 degree views of the whole park. Plus, you can then tell your friends that you’ve hiked a cinder path to the top of a cone.
If you want more information to plan your visit, this website is wonderful!
All who know Jess knows that she loves hot tubs…but even more so, hot springs! Right outside of Craters of the Moon lies Carey Hot Springs. Not easily seen from the road, this two pool natural hot springs sits at the edge of lava rock. We had the whole place to ourselves when we got there and it was one of the highlights from our trip. After hiking to the tops of cones and caving it was the ideal place to rest sore muscles. It can be a little slippery getting into the hot pools though so be careful. We won’t name names but someone may have taken a somewhat graceful fall into the main spring 😉
The easiest way to find these hot springs is search for mile markers 214-215 along the road. The hot springs are between these two mile markers. There is a slight pull-out off to the side of the road that you can park at. You will not see the hot springs from the road. So once you are parked, walk towards the small hill and you’ll surely find them.
Carey Hot Springs is on private property and the owner is nice enough to let us commoners continue to use…so please be respectful!
We wish we would have had more time to go exploring in the area but you can only do so much in a weekend. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try to see more than we did! Below are some other ideas of things to do while you are visiting Craters of the Moon.
Additional spots to check out-
(graciously shared by Anne, the owner of Champagne Creek Lodge…she’s awesome)
Lower Cedar Creek (50 mile highway drive close to the city of Mackay, 2 mile gravel road to trailhead)
This is a 1.5 mile hike alongside a creek to a spring/waterfall that is bursting out the side of the mountain. You can locate the turnoff on Google, but there are two signs alongside the road to access the trailhead. Turn onto gravel at the larger sign!
Iron Bog Lake (25 mile gravel drive)
This is a 3.8 mile hike to a high country lake. There are some steep spots, but the lake is well worth the effort! There is fishing in this lake.
Leadbelt Caves (16 mile gravel drive, caves visible from main road) (not online!)
This collection of caves is a local secret! There are a variety of foottrails leading up to the caves, so you can explore the whole mountainside. Antelope Creek runs at the bottom of the hill, which is quite stunning! Be sure to look for fossils!!
EBR-1 (45 highway miles)
This Experimental Breeder Reactor I is a decommissioned research reactor and U.S. National Historic Landmark located in the desert about 18 miles southeast of Arco, Idaho. It was the world’s first breeder reactor.
If you want the full list to other amazing spots, (some only the locals know about) book a stay at Champagne Creek Lodge and Anne will be more than happy to share with you the full attractions list! 🙂
Out trip was hosted by Champagne Creek Lodge but all opinions are our own.