Craters of the Moon National Wilderness Area
Hiking, wilderness camping, back-country skiing and snowshoeing, caving, star gazing, pika peering and cloud watching.
In the wilderness area the Tree Molds Trail provides access to the Tree Molds area west of Big Cinder Butte, while the four mile Wilderness Trail crosses the east flank of Big Cinder Butte to reach Echo Crater. Cross country foot travel is the only way to access most of the rest of the wilderness.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
The high (6,500 to 5,200 feet elevation) desert climate produces long cold winters and hot dry summers. Snow typically covers the ground and closes the Scenic Loop Road to vehicles from late November to mid-April. The average high temperature in July is 85 degrees F. High winds and very low humidity are common in the summer.
The lava terrain can be rough on footwear, so sturdy boots with thick heavy soles are advisable.
Safety and Current Conditions
The rarity of surface water and hot dry weather in the summer require wilderness hikers to carry most all of their water. One gallon of water per person per day is recommended during mid-summer.
Snow cover most of the winter makes access difficult but rewarding.