Cost: FREE (Permit Required)
Site: Just shy of Echo Crater (SEE PIC)
Vehicle: Volkswagen Atlas (Parked at trailhead)
AT&T and T-Mobile: No Service
We were very excited for this hike and dispersed stay. It’s just under 4 miles one way and you must get a free permit from the visitor center to enter the Wilderness area at Craters of the Moon. Unforutanley, we didn’t have an NPS Park Ranger, and we didn’t get as much info as we were hoping while getting our permit. With that, we were relying on the basic park map and previous research to find our way to Echo Crater, the main place to camp.
Take the scenic drive through the entire park until you get to the parking lot and trailheads for 'Tree Molds', 'Broken Top' and 'Wilderness'. From the 'Tree Molds' trailhead, follow the sidewalk that loops back around the parking lot, and look for the sign for the 'Wilderness Trail' (it's a small one and a few steps into the trail - see pic).
I highly suggest using a GPS or more detailed map, to make sure you make it to the crater. We thought we were there, but after getting back to service and pulling up the satellite image, we were just shy of actual Echo Crater (see the map picture for more detail). The sights are stunning, both during the day and night, and both on the hike in and the hike out. No fires are permitted, so make sure to bring a stove. We saw some wildlife, but nothing that was bothersome, or an issue. Also, it definitely gets chilly at night.
However, the trail and hike are absolutely beautiful and very much worth the trek. We only stayed for the one night, but would love to return and actually make it to Echo Crater next time around!