Exploring Craters of the Moon National Monument

Jason Miller sits on the edge of a lava tube at Craters of the Moon National Monument

American Falls, ID

In our excitement to get to Yellowstone, we decided to take a longer than normal drive this week. Since we like to only drive 200 – 300 miles a day, we broke our 500-mile drive into two days. Our first time moving two days in a row. The first drive was around 300 miles from Kennewick, WA to Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, ID. They had long and wide pullouts that made stopping for the night a breeze. They had great amenities and we were excited to use the Jacuzzi to relax after the day’s drive. Unfortunately, we procrastinated too much and when we went to go it was already closed. We learned we need to pay attention to time zones. Since we had moved into the Mountain Time Zone, we found out that we didn’t have 55 minutes to enjoy the Jacuzzi but were 5 minutes late. Rae was not happy.

Hitching-up the next day was a breeze and we completed the rest of our drive to American Falls, ID. We stayed at Willow Bay RV resort which was right on the American Falls Reservoir. The park was nice and quiet with long pull-throughs. The check-in process was strange but fitting for the park. When we arrived the office was closed but a few seconds later someone drove up from the entrance. She said they were heading to town when they saw us and turned around. She pointed us toward our site and said to just come to pay tomorrow or something. We forgot on Monday and there was no one in the office on Tuesday. We were finally able to pay for our site on Wednesday. Strange check-in aside we loved our time at Willow Bay. The views across the Reservoir of snow-capped mountains were just beautiful.

American Falls Reservoir / Snake River

If you have driven through Idaho at all, you know that the Snake River is aptly named. We were not able to drive anywhere in Idaho without crossing the river multiple times as it slithers across the state. The American Falls Reservoir is part of the Snake River. Carmen loved the muddy banks full of birds. She dashed too and fro as fast as she could. Thank god for our outside shower where we were able to rinse her down before letting her back in the RV.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

We wanted to go to the Craters of the Moon National Monument so bad but were dreading the drive. Being in the middle of nowhere, the entrance was 2 1/2 hours away! The fact that the monument stretched all the way down to less than 20 miles away frustrated us (there was no entrance or roads on the south side.) The drive was definitely worth it for us in the end. It started hailing as we attempted to climb a cinder cone but that added to the mystique. This park gives you surreal feelings with black lava extending in every direction. It really makes you feel like you could be on another planet.

The coolest feature was the lava tubes. The different colors were surprising and beautiful. You get to wander by yourself and it gets dark in them so bring a flashlight. We recommend a headlamp since you will want both hands as you scramble over the piles of the collapsed tunnel roof.

Lava Hot Springs

In our search for a place to celebrate some goals we reached, we found the Lava Hot Springs. This place was so cool! The hot water from the hot springs was funneled into large pools of varying temperatures. We started off in the hottest pool and it felt like our skin was on fire. The middle temperature was too hot for us as well so we ended up in the coolest pool with all the children. Enjoying ourselves for over two hours we slowly made our way back to the changing room.

Conclusion

We found that we really enjoyed Idaho. The snow-capped mountains in the distance reminded us of home. The strange wasteland of Craters of the Moon was a sight to see. The lava hot springs will always be on our minds. It is safe to say we will be back. The amazing scenery only got better as we head towards Yellowstone National Park for the next week.

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  1. Have been following you guys and noticed you are in Tucson. My girlfriend and I Live there just wanted to tell you some Free places to go… Mt. Lemon, Tubac
    Winter haven lots of lights, Sonoita wine country, tombstone,old mining town Bisbee, some places that charge desert museum, Sabino Canyon , Reid park zoo
    Kartchner caverns ,Some beer places, The barrio, thunder canyon, have fun ! We are looking to some day having are own adventures.

    1. Hey, David and Jill! Thank you so much for the recommendations, however we’ve already rolled out of Tucson. One of our 2018 goals is to be more up to date with our location across our social media platforms. You’re not the first to send recommendations after we’ve left a place and it really bums us out! lol. But thanks again and we loved Tucson so we will definitely be back! Adding these to our list 🙂

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