A must-do trail in the national monument, spanning multiple crater rims and crossing a lava flow.

Statistics

0 - 1

hrs

90

m

142

m

5

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Moderate

Description

Unlike most of the park's other trails, this one does not make a loop.

It's mapped here as a one-way from the southern trailhead to the northern trailhead, which can be done with a car shuttle.

You could easily make an out-and-back from either trailhead instead. The southern trailhead is at the Spatter Cones parking area.

The short walk to the Spatter Cones is certainly worth doing first, to peer into the pit of some miniature volcanoes.

You'll then continue up a paved path to start North Crater Trail.

It doesn't stay paved, but turns into a cinder path on the rim of the first crater. From that point on you'll alternate up and down a rounded ridge that connects multiple craters, then strikes out across a lava flow.

You'll stare into throat of exploded volcanoes, and gaze all around at other volcanic hills.

Up-close scenery includes textured lava rock, dark fissures in the ground, twisted pine trees, and springtime wildflowers.

This is undoubtedly one of the most diverse hikes in the national monument.