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Wilderness Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

5.0 mile 8.1 kilometer point to point
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 70' 21 m
Descent: -306' -93 m
High: 5,838' 1,779 m
Low: 5,584' 1,702 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Bryce Jenkins

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Hike across lava flows and through sagebrush to camp in a cinder cone.

Bryce Jenkins

Features Commonly Backpacked · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

A few caveats:
1. Bring a gallon of water a day per person minimum as none is available to treat or filter.
2. Check the weather—it's the desert.
3. An entrance fee to the Monument and Preserve is required (credit cards are accepted).
4. Backcountry permits are required to camp in the area. Check in the visitor center to obtain a free one.

Description

The trail en route to the Wilderness Trail starts from the Tree Molds Parking Area at the southern end of the road in Craters of the Moon. Follow the signs for the Broken Top loop and exclaim joy when the pavement ends quickly and you are hiking through lava flows. Marvel at the otherworldly beauty of lava rock that cooled in ways that allow you to see the flow. Discuss what causes the iridescent sheen on some of the rocks with your friend, or yourself. I don't judge. The trail is easy to follow and when it passes on to the lava flows themselves and leaves the dirt behind, there are plentiful and easy-to-locate metal posts to guide you.

After 0.6 miles you'll reach the junction with the Wilderness Trail. Follow it to the right and wander around the side of Big Cinder Butte, then down between Coyote Butte and Crescent Butte, where you'll get your first glimpse of Echo Crater and The Sentinel and Watchman beyond.

Flora & Fauna

Marmots, succulents, sagebrush, limber pine, coyotes, all manner of birds, and chipmunks can be found here.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible

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Check-Ins

Sep 7, 2018
Rachel Pierstorff
Inferno Cone 0.8mi
Sep 2, 2018
Lindsey Dirats
Easy and quiet! Very little traffic. Trail surface is mostly gravel-like pea-sized lava stones. It’s fully exposed, so be prepared for sun/wind!
Apr 28, 2018
Bryce Jenkins
Phenomenal! I kept saying "wow" about everything. 3.8mi — 1h 30m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 3 votes

#8474

Overall
  4.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#221

in Idaho

#8,474

Overall
2 Views Last Month
194 Since Apr 30, 2018
Easy/Intermediate

25%
75%
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Photos

Craters of the Moon National Monument
May 3, 2018 near Arco, ID

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