Craters of the Moon

ABOVE: That’s Idaho... not the moon!

Craters of the Moon (a named used only since the early 1900s) was an amazing site for the pioneers. The treeless, moonlike landscape was unlike anything they had ever seen. Unfortunately, the rocky lava flows slowed the pioneer's progress.

This region was not near the older, southern route along the Snake. But beginning in the 1860s a new route that bypassed the Snake River became very popular. Called the Goodale Cutoff, it skirted the edge of the "lavas" we now call Craters of the Moon.

Overton Johnson:
“This is, perhaps the most rugged desert and dreary country between the borders of the United States and the shores of the Pacific. It is nothing less than a wild rocky barren wilderness, or wrecked and ruined nature, a vast field of volcanic desolation.”