Craters of the Moon National Monument Offers Wildflower Walks in June

Blazing star.Wildflowers on cinders.

Top photo: Blazing star blooming at night. Bottom photo: Wildflowers on ciders. NPS photos

Craters of the Moon National Monument is perhaps best-known for lava and its lunar-like terrain, but the park has some surprises as well, including over 600 types of plants. June is peak season for wildflowers in the area, and ranger-guided wildflower walks will be held at the park on June 12 and 19.

The guided three-mile walks will cover a variety of habitats and provide an introduction to a number of plant species. Participants will should pack a lunch to be eaten in the field, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. There's a limit of 30 people per hike, and reservations are required. Call 208-527-1335 to sign up and get details on where to meet.

What might you see on the hike? There are plenty of possibilities. According to the park,

Over 661 different types of plants (taxa) have been identified in the Monument. Vegetation in different successional stages can be found on lava flows, in cinder areas, on kipukas, and in mountain and riparian areas. Many unique plants have developed ways to adapt and to survive the extreme conditions they face here.

Despite the seemingly barren nature of the cinder cones and lava fields, spectacular floral displays occur at Craters of the Moon each spring. Starting with the arrival of the wild onion in late April and ending with the disappearance of the yellow blossoms of the rabbitbrush in September, some variety of wildflower can be found blooming within the monument's boundaries.

You can download a plant list for Craters of the Moon, and the park website includes driving directions and other details to help plan a visit.