Craters of the Moon

So happy to get to this beautiful, unique part of the country this year! Truly one of the most divergent areas to visit in Idaho, if not in the United States.

Big Craters area

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve encompasses the entire Great Rift volcanic rift zone.” “It contains a huge concentration of volcanic land forms and structures along the more than 50-mile zone of fractures and eruptions.”

View north over the North Crater and Serrate Flows
View north over the Serrate and North Crater Flows
North Crater Flow
North Crater Flow

“The protected area’s features are volcanic and represent one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States.” wiki

Most of the trees that grow in the area are either Juniper or limber pine which, “…is named for the flexibility of its branches that can literally be tied in a knot.” NPS

Because of many issues currently threatening these pines, the ecological health of the limber pines are monitored for mountain pine beetles, mistletoe, and white pine blister rust.

Nearby to the west is a protected area between Craters of the Moon National Monument and the Pioneer Mountains. We unfortunately didn’t see them, but this is one of the longest migration routes for pronghorn, wolverine and sage-grouse. Nature Conservancy

We were very lucky to visit during wild flower season and were able to see some very unique flowers in bloom. “The ability to grow in this harsh environment means overcoming a lack of moisture, meager soil, and surface temperatures that exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit” NPS

Sitting in the The Great Rift and the Snake River Plain (which “…stretches about 400 miles (640 km) westward from northwest of the state of Wyoming to the Idaho-Oregon border.”), this area’s environment is so unique and is surrounded by a gorgeous an amazing backdrop. wiki

Lost River Range
Lost River Range
North Crater Trail
North Crater Trail and Pioneer Mountains
Broken Top, Alpine Bitterbrush, and Juniper trunk
Broken Top, Alpine Bitter, and Juniper trunk

Visit the the park website to learn more.

If you have any questions about our experiences, don’t hesitate to ask 🌎

Bandelier National Monument

If you’re ever near Los Alamos, New Mexico, stop in and visit Bandelier National Monument in the beautiful Frijoles Canyon.

The monument preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans of a later era in the Southwest. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, dating between 1150 and 1600 AD.” #wiki

Though there are over 70 miles of hiking trails, when we visited some years back, we visited only the Main Loop trail to see and tour the interesting cliff dwellings and the ruins of Tyuonyi (chew-OHN-yee) pueblo.

More info on the monument and park here:
History & Culture – Bandelier National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

View of Tyuonyi pueblo ruins

View of Tyuonyi pueblo ruins

Pictograh and Viga holes

Pictograh and viga holes used to hold the dwellings’ supports

Frijoles Canyon

Frijoles Canyon view from inside a cavate

Inside the Came room

Inside the Came room (a.k.a. cavate)

Volcanic Tuff cliff

Volcanic Tuff cliff formed from the Jemez Volcano over one million years ago

Inside the Cavate

Inside the cacate – plastered walls and smoked ceilings.

Volcanic Tuff cliffs

Volcanic Tuff cliffs

Tree Cholla cactus

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) cactus in front of Alcove House

More info on the monument and park here:
History & Culture – Bandelier National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)