Broken Top Loop Hike

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Upper Snake River Valley, Idaho

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Broken Top Loop Hike


  • A permit is required to enter any caves in the park.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • The trailhead is shared with the Wilderness Trail.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Heading around the loop along the shoulder of Broken Top.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • The great lava flow from the side of Broken Top.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • The Loop Road from the trail.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Hiking the Broken Top Loop.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Bright lichen on the lava rocks.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Following the trail.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • The landscape is stark and spare.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • The trail winds through the lava flow.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Cave entrance.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Exploring the caves.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • Hiking near the lava flow.- Broken Top Loop Hike
  • The lava truly flowed like a river.- Broken Top Loop Hike
Overview + Weather
Great views of lava flows. Lava cave.
Upper Snake River Valley, ID
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
160.00 ft (48.77 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.90 mi (3.06 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,800.00 ft (1,767.84 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Broken Top Loop is one of the best trails in Craters of the Moon National Monument to really get an up-close look at lava flows. The trail loops around a cinder cone created when a nearby vent spouted lava containing a high amount of gases. When the lava fell, it accumulated and formed this hill.

The north side of this loop (clockwise from the trailhead) cuts across the slope of Broken Top and offers more distant views of a large flow and an area called the Big Sink, which is a collapsed area of lava. As the trail winds around the cinder cone, it enters one of the youngest lava flows in the park and has terrific close-up views of the many shapes the molten lava takes as it cools. There is an area of the lava tubes called the Buffalo Caves, which can be explored with a permit from the visitor center.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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2 Members
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