Location: In south central Idaho between Idaho Falls and Twins Falls along Highways 20, 26 and 93.
The bizarre landscape of Craters of the Moon is comprised of about 1000 square miles of lava flows and cinder cones created 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, as well as lava tunnels and ice caves that are accessible with a free cave permit available at the Visitor Center near the north end of the park. There are a variety of one-hour to half-day extended hikes, while wilderness excursions require a backcountry permit. Many visitors explore this unique landscape, which comes alive with summer wildflowers, via the seven-mile loop drive. In the winter, Craters is a great location for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
A few miles west of Craters and 16 miles north of the town of Shoshone on Highway 75, Shoshone Ice Cave museum and gift shop offers underground, wooden walkway tours of an historically known, perpetually frozen lava tube cave. Floored with ice up to 30 feet thick, the cave offers a great way to cool down in the summer heat.
Mammoth Cave and the truly amazing, unique Shoshone Bird Museum of Natural History are located together 8 miles north of Shoshone on Highway 75. The well-lit and beautifully colored cavern is the largest volcanic cave in the world open to the public and can be comfortably explored on half-hour self-guided tours. It was stocked by the US government for 20 years during the Cold War with enough food for 8000 people in the event of a nuclear strike.