This generally means a drive from Wyoming to Idaho, or a drive from Montana to Idaho.
Or if you are just hearing about Craters of the Moon for the first time, then be sure that you see:
And more below about planning your trip to Wyoming and Idaho!
So it will depend on specifically where in Yellowstone you’re coming from, but the drive from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon is around 3 to 4 hours long.
So being a 4 hour drive, this means that you can drive from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon in one day no problem, with time for a last activity in Yellowstone before you leave Wyoming and/or time for some activities in Craters of the Moon when you arrive in Idaho.
West Yellowstone MT is a popular town to stay at for a trip to Yellowstone National Park. And when your next stop is Idaho, this can be a perfect town to stay in. Driving from West Yellowstone MT to Craters of the Moon is around 3 hours and 15 minutes.
For reference, the small town near Craters of the Moon is Arco ID. The town of Arco ID has some local motels and no chain hotels. This is about a 30 minute drive from the Craters of the Moon Visitor Center.
Or, if you want to consider taking your time making your way to Craters of the Moon, you can do that too!
The best detour you can make when you’re driving from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon is to stop by to see some Idaho waterfalls!
MAP: West Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon
Explore the map.
MAP: West Yellowstone to Mesa Falls to Craters of the Moon
Explore the map.
Download offline maps before you go!
It’s quite possible that you will have minimal data as you are driving from Wyoming to Idaho.
It will be best to download offline google maps for the Yellowstone area of Wyoming and Montana and the Craters of the Moon area of Idaho, and everything in between before you go!
More below about making the drive from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon!
Plan more of your trip to Yellowstone and beyond:
- Easy-going one day in Yellowstone National Park
- Best places to visit in Wyoming with VIEWS!
- Driving from Devils Tower to Yellowstone
- Driving from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone
- Driving from Chicago to Yellowstone
- Best places to visit in South Dakota with VIEWS!
I have a lot of 30-90 second Yellowstone videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can't see the video directly above, it might be because you have an ad blocker. Save the Yellowstone video playlist to watch on youtube later!
You can have a perfect one day in Yellowstone driving from the west entrance and following the road down south... or entering from the south entrance and following the road up north aka driving from Grand Teton to Yellowstone!
👆 Explore the Grand Teton National Park map on google maps!
Also note: If you are using google maps to plan driving directions through Grand Teton National Park and it's showing you no driving directions exist, it is probably because of a closed road in the winter! If you are planning ahead for your spring or summer Wyoming national parks road trip, adjust the departure date (default is "leave now") to a random date in the summer!
Here is how your day (or 2 days) can look like for driving from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon
If you’re giving yourself the time and you are driving up from the south (aka from Grand Teton National Park), one last activity that can be perfect if you are driving up from the south through Yellowstone can be driving Firehole Lake Drive (passing by Firehole Spring and Surprise Pool) and/or walking the Fountain Paint Pots Trail.
👆👆 Driving through Yellowstone with a stop along Firehole Lake Drive
👆 Driving through Yellowstone with a stop at Fountain Paint Pots Trail
Otherwise, if you’re staying in the town of West Yellowstone MT, you can start driving towards Craters of the Moon!
So again, driving directly from West Yellowstone MT to Craters of the Moon is around 3 hours and 15 minutes. (map)
If you make a slight detour by driving the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, driving from West Yellowstone MT to Mesa Falls Scenic Byway to Craters of the Moon, then the drive time will be around 3.5 hours. (map)
And then, you’ll need to add in some extra time to actually get out and see the waterfalls. There are 2 parking areas for different views of waterfalls.
When driving in the direction of Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon along the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, first you’ll come across the Upper Falls parking area. There is a national forest fee of about $5 here. If you have an annual national park pass, that is accepted here and it will be free for you.
You can see Mesa Falls by walking a boardwalk trail maybe 10-20 minutes round trip.
Then from the Upper Falls parking lot, you can also start the hiking trail to Lower Falls by hiking in the forest. As you near the waterfalls, there is a steep trail and then you’ll be walking across big rocks. This would be around a 2 mile round trip hike.
Then, you can keep driving along Mesa Falls Scenic Byway and you will come to the Lower Falls parking area. These are waterfalls that you can see with a short walk of 1 minute or so, but this is a quite distant view. There is no fee for this Mesa Falls overlook.
“Big” town to stay in along the way: Idaho Falls ID
If you’re looking for a city to stay at along the way from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon, there is Idaho Falls ID. This town has chain hotels and a Walmart.
West Yellowstone MT to Idaho Falls ID is around a 2 hour drive.
Idaho Falls ID to Craters of the Moon is around a 1.5 hour drive.
3. Hell’s Half Acre lava field
This requires no detour. As you are driving along the main road of US-20 from Idaho Falls to Craters of the Moon, you will come across a sign that says “lava rock hiking trail.” (map)
If you are looking for an excuse to stop and stretch your legs, you can make a stop here to get out and walk the half mile loop hiking trail across old lava flows.
You don’t need to consider this a “must-stop” since you will get your fill of lava fields once you get to Craters of the Moon.
But if you want the chance to walk across more lava fields in Idaho, you can make a stop here!
There is a shorter lava rock hiking trail of around 1 mile round trip, and there is also a longer lava rock hiking trail that will take you out further across the lava fields for several hours of hiking.
4. Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway
When you’re driving from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon, you will naturally end up on this road. This is basically the final road that leads to Craters of the Moon National Monument.
5. Craters of the Moon National Monument
And you have made it to Craters of the Moon!
See more about planning your Wyoming to Idaho road trip:
And those are some ideas for driving to Craters of the Moon from Yellowstone!
Plan more of your Wyoming road trip:
- How to spend one day in Yellowstone
- Grand Teton to Yellowstone
- One day in Grand Teton
- Driving through Grand Teton
- Best of hiking in Wyoming
- Driving from South Dakota to Wyoming
HAPPY DRIVING FROM WYOMING OR MONTANA TO CRATERS OF THE MOON!
Watch the videos to see Wyoming in action!If you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!
Find things to do in Yellowstone National Park: Watch my Yellowstone videos on youtube
Find things to do in Grand Teton National Park: Watch my Grand Teton videos on youtube
Plan more of your trip to Yellowstone and beyond
- Best things to do in Yellowstone National Park
- Hiking Yellowstone: How to see the famous Old Faithful geyser eruption
- Hiking Yellowstone: How to see the famous Grand Prismatic Spring from the above
- Driving from Grand Teton to Yellowstone
- Best things to do in Grand Teton National Park
- Driving through Grand Teton National Park
- Best places to visit in Wyoming (September and October!)
- Driving from Yellowstone to Craters of the Moon
- Cave hikes in Idaho
- Things to do in Craters of the Moon National Monument and lava fields
- Driving from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone
- National parks in South Dakota
- National park in North Dakota