Crater Rings, Mountain Home, Idaho

Crater rings is one of the most unique and under visited natural features in the state of Idaho. Located 45 minutes outside of Boise near the town of Mountain Home, this geological oddity makes for the perfect adventure destination. Located inside Birds of Prey Conservation Area, these rings provide excellent viewing for hawks, eagles, and owls. There are also cattle, pronghorn antelope, horned toads, coyotes, and even rattlesnakes that call this area home.

I first came across Crater Rings when I flew over the area in a small plane at about 2,000′ above the ground. They resembled impact craters and my first thought was that they were created from meteorites. As cool as that would be, the most common hypothesis is that the craters were formed by lakes of lava from about 2million years ago. The best way to visualize their creation is to think about the current Hawaiian volcanoes and their lava pool features.

At 300 feet deep and about 3,000 feet wide, these twin craters are now a National Natural Landmark. But don’t worry, you can still interact with them and even camp inside if you wanted to! Cattle still graze this region and you can get as hands on with the craters as you want.

Crater Rings shows off impressive views of the foothills and the vast expanse of the Owyhee Desert highlight how impressive this feature is. The vertical rock walls provide shelter for the numerous birds of prey that call this region home.

Getting To Crater Rings

Access to Crater Rings is best from the east. DO NOT use Google Maps directions because it will route you through the desert where the road does not exist anymore. Get as close to Crater Rings as you can using Cinder Butte Road, only follow the most maintained roads and you will be able to make it with a regular sedan.

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