• Activities:

    Snowboarding, Skiing, Snowshoeing

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Winter

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    500 Feet

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic

Backcountry ski on cinder cones, surrounded by fields of lava.

Craters of the Moon National Monument is 1100 square miles of basalt lava and sagebrush. It looks like another planet: desolate in macro, beautiful in micro. 

Craters is most popular in the summer, when visitors from nearby Sun Valley arrive to hike on sun-baked lava hot enough to melt their shoes.

Winter is a particularly quiet season at Craters, and one of the most fun. Strap on cross country skis and glide the six mile loop road through cinder cones and lava fields. When there is adequate snow cover, park staff groom the road for both skate and classic skis.

For the more adventurous, Craters allows backcountry skiing on the cinder cones. Though the grades are gentle, come prepared with the knowledge to read the snowpack and always carry avalanche safety gear.

Winter parking is at the visitor center, and all access into the park is via snowshoe or ski. Park entrance during the winter is free, and there is no fee to use the groomed trails.

Be sure to check Current Conditions before traveling to Craters, as the ski trails are dependent on a solid snowpack.

Pack List

  • Cross country skis, backcountry skis, or snowshoes
  • Avalanche gear if backcountry skiing
  • Plenty of layers, it's always windy
  • Food and drink (the closest convenience store is in Carey, 20 miles west of the park)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Leave a Review

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Sara Sheehy Explorer

Writer | Nomad I Adventuress | Photographer

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

8 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves