We were in Sun Valley ID a few weeks ago for our family vacation, and were pleasantly surprised to find that a day trip to Craters of the Moon National Preserve was totally doable. Honestly this was probably the least researched vacation we’ve taken and we were excited to find this adventure once we were there. This is why we always stock up on free flyers and local magazines when we travel…it’s how we find most of the “cool” stuff to do in or near town.
So we plugged Craters of the Moon into the GPS and took off with a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks on hand. Thank goodness because the theme of the trip was the GPS being on adventure mode. I swear it took us the long way around, and hit as many back-roads and dirt roads as possible. Adventure!!! We tend to find the coolest things when we are on dirt roads, so we didn’t mind. Just bring TP and food for the day! 🙂
Initially the GPS took us to Craters of the Moon, but it was the dirt road in the middle of nowhere part of the park. We drove for several miles through lava fields and grazing grounds before coming across a local rancher who told us we needed to head back to the hwy to get to the visitor center and the lava caves. It was hard to turn around though because the country was so pretty, and we were the only people out and about. So much space all to ourselves!
Once we found the visitor center, and got cleared to enter the lava tube caves we had so much fun exploring. That day there were thunder storms all around, and you could see the rain on the distant horizon, we felt like we were trying to stay ahead of the storm the entire time.
It really is like being on the moon. The landscape is so baron and not like anything else here on earth. I can see why NASA has used this spot to test moon equipment. Sky was convinced we were going to the real moon, and was a bit disappointed to find out we were staying firmly on earth. But, once we hit the caves that all changed. She loved it!
It was pretty cold in the caves, some still had a lot of ice, and the lava rock is no joke. Very rough on bare legs. Sky and I both ended up scratched up…I highly recommend long pants for caving!
We had a really good time, learned a lot, and totally recommend a visit if you are ever in the area!