ARCO — Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve’s dark lava rock now wears a mantle of white. The loop drive is closed to automobile travel, but there are still many excellent opportunities to explore the park.
Winter activities include:
- Visitor Center: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day — View exhibits and audio-visual presentations to learn m
- ore about your national monument. Check out the bookstore for unique gifts or snowshoe rentals. For more information, go to cratersofthemoonnha.org.
- Christmas Bird Count: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 19 — This is an international effort to count wintering birds in the western hemisphere. Participants of all skill levels are welcome. Meet at the visitor center at 9 a.m. Wear boots, hats, gloves and warm layered clothing to spend the day outside. Bring binoculars and a lunch to eat in the field. Snowshoes will be provided if conditions require. For more information, call 208-527-1352 or go to audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count.
- Cross-country skiing/snowshoeing: mid-December through February, depending o
- n snow conditions — The seven-mile loop road will be groomed for skiing as snowpack allows. T
- here are no entry or user fees. Most of the winter trail follows relatively level terrain and can be completed in two to four hours. There are also excellent opportunities for snowshoeing throughout the park including the 1½-mile Snowshoe Loop Trail. Pets are not permitted on any of the trails. For maps and current conditions, go to nps.gov/crmo/planyourvisit/winter-activities.htm.
- Snowshoe Walk: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays in January and February, and on March 2. This will be a ranger-guided snowshoe walk beginning with a short introduction to the winter environment followed by a fun loop through the park on snowshoes. Look for tracks and climb a volcano on this two-mile trek. Snowshoes are available for complimentary use; donations will be accepted. Depending on conditions, snowshoeing can be a strenuous activity that
- may not be suitable for younger children. Group size is limited to 30. Sign up at the visitor center on the day of the walk.
- Group Snowshoe Walk: 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in January and February, by reservation. Group size is limited to 30. Sign up by calling 208-527-1335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org early.
- Snow School: Tuesday through Friday during January and February. Bring your students to the monument for an unforgettable trek. Snowshoe with a ranger and learn about how wildlife adapts to winter conditions. There are enough snowshoes available for about 30 students; the walks are suitable for third-graders and older. To schedule a field trip, call 208-527-1335. Transportation assistance is available. After registering for a Snow School visit, staff will provide you with information
- on what to wear and bring. For more information, go to nps.gov/crmo/learn/education/classroom