Craters of the Moon National Monument
Craters of the Moon is a concentrated area that displays the full range of volcanic events, with which you all are probably more familiar with now than you might care to be. But you’re still going to get pictures of this stuff because it’s awesome. There is a loop road with many short hikes that allow you to see just about everything. In addition, the Craters of the Moon has recent examples of Pahoehoe lava – the ropy kind that looks spilled – that are iridescent blue in sunlight!
I climbed another cinder cone, but this one was basaltic, so pure black:
I was able to climb up two spatter cones – buildup of less powerful ejections of lava around a vent – and look inside as well. The monument has examples of lava caves too, but on a much smaller scale than Mount St. Helens or Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Boy Scout Cave, which measures no more than a hundred feet or so, is known for ice on the floor year round. The largest, Indian Tunnel, is about 800 feet long and has multiple skylights from collapses of portions of the lava
Access to these caves is via a trail over another lava field broken by fissures. The day I was there, the weather was perfect and the blue sky and cumulus cloud made for a gorgeous walk.
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Whoa. That’s crazy. It really does look like another planet. Or the moon.
It’s eerily devoid of life in a lot of places which is just really cool and the color is quite the contrast from the surrounding light-colored sedimentary hills and the scrub brush. I think I read somewhere that that astronauts visited here in 1969, but only to be able to identify volcanic rocks and not to train for landings or anything. Still looks like the moon to me though too!