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Hike to Indian Tunnel at Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon NM & PRES, Idaho



1.6 miles

Elevation Gain

75 ft

Route Type



Added by CampCo

Hike along the weaving trail on top of a lava field to reach the largest cave (or lava tube) in the park where you descend into the darkness and scramble your way through!

Indian Cave is the largest cave or tube, measuring 30 feet tall and 800 feet long with several massive skylights. The skylights provide so much sunlight, a flashlight isn’t necessary, but is helpful in some areas.

In order to enter the caves you will need to acquire a free permit at the visitor’s center. You will speak with a ranger who will make sure that you don’t accidentally bring any contaminants into the caves that could harm the bat ecosystem. There is more information about what should be considered when preparing for your adventure found here on the NPS page for Craters of The Moon.

The starting point for this adventure is the Caves Area parking lot. You will head out on Caves trail meandering through a lava field that span the surface for miles. This trail will lead you to 3 caves (Indian Tunnel, Boy Scout Cave and Beauty Cave). Indian Tunnel is at at the end, about 1.6 miles out.

There is a big, metal ladder that drops you into the darkness below, and starts your underground adventure through a lava tube. Below ground is a dynamic underground world where fiery rivers in hardened, self-insulating tubes once flowed for miles without losing heat. Watch your footing as it’s easy to meander off-trail with your eyes darting all over the cave walls, and up to the massive skylights above. The trail winds it way around broken basalt boulders and remains that once hung from the ceiling of the tube, coursing it’s way past multiple openings.

At the very end of the tube, there is a fun climb to get out of the tube that narrows itself down to a small opening that you pop through to reach the surface once again. There are markers that lead you back to the opening of the cave (less than ¼ mile), but you can stop along the way to take a peak down into the lava tube you just hiked through. 

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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