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Winter's Wonders at COTM

Activities and events for the perfect eastern Idaho day trip

Published online: Nov 25, 2019 Articles, East Idaho Outdoors, Events, Family Fun Guide, Road Trips
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Winter is coming to Craters of the Moon and the dark lava rock will soon wear a mantle of white. Once snow-covered, the loop road is closed to motorized travel but there are still many excellent opportunities to explore the park. Join us for the following winter activities and events: 

Visitor Center: Daily from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., except for the following winter holidays (Nov. 27*, Nov. 28, Dec. 24*, Dec. 25 & Dec. 31*, Jan. 1) *Closed after 1 p.m.

 

Christmas Bird Count: December 16; 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Craters of the Moon offers a unique winter time bird watching experience. The Christmas Bird Count is an international effort to count wintering birds in the western hemisphere. Participants of all experience and skill levels are welcome. This annual event is co-sponsored by the Snake River Audubon Society. Meet at the Craters of the Moon visitor center at 9 a.m. Wear boots, hats, gloves and warm layered clothing. Bring binoculars and a lunch to eat in the field. You should be prepared to spend the day outside in winter conditions. Snowshoes will be provided if conditions require. For more information on the Christmas Bird Count contact our wildlife biologist at (208) 527-1352 or visit https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count


Cross-country Skiing/ Snowshoeing: Mid-December thru February (depending on snow conditions)

The 7 mile loop road will be groomed for skiing as snow pack allows and there are no entry or user fees. Most of the Winter Trail follows relatively level terrain and can be completed in 2-4 hours. There are also excellent opportunities for snowshoeing throughout the park including our 1.5 mile Snowshoe Loop Trail. Please note that pets are not permitted on any of our trails. Visit the website for maps and current conditions: http://www.nps.gov/crmo/planyourvisit/winter-activities.htm


Snowshoe Walk: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturdays; Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25 and Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Explore a cooler side of Craters of the Moon on a Ranger-guided snowshoe walk. Look for tracks and learn about winter wildlife on this 1.5-mile trek. Snowshoes are available for use (donations 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 visitor center on the day of  the walk.

 

Group Snowshoe Walk9 a.m. - Noon on Saturdays in January and February by reservation
Are you looking for a special adventure for your group or club? The day begins with a short introduction to the winter environment followed by a fun loop through the park on snowshoes. Look for tracks and learn about winter wildlife on this 1.5-mile trek. Snowshoes are available for use and there is no charge for these events (donations accepted). Depending on conditions, snowshoeing can be a strenuous activity that may not be suitable for younger children. Reservations are required and group size is limited to 30. Call 208-527-1335 or email crmo_information@nps.gov early to sign up your group for these popular excursions.

 

Snow School: Tuesday through Friday in January and February beginning January 7

Bring your students to Craters for an unforgettable and educational snowshoe trek. Snowshoe with a Ranger and learn about how wildlife adapts to winter conditions. We have enough snowshoes for about 30 students and the walks are suitable for third graders and up. Contact the park at (208) 527-1335 for more information or to schedule a field trip. Transportation assistance is available!  After registering for a Snow School visit we will provide you with detailed information on what to wear and bring. Visit the website to learn more about Snow School: https://www.nps.gov/crmo/learn/education/classrooms/snowschool.htm

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