Inferno Cone is definitely the coolest hike at Craters of the Moon and if you only have time to do one hike, this should be it! Not only will you be able to say you’ve hiked up a cinder cone, but you’ll also be able to see some of the most spectacular views of Craters of the Moon and in fact, much of Southern Idaho too.
What is a cinder cone you ask? Is it a volcano? A cinder cone is steep conical hill made up of loose pyroclastic fragments such as volcanic ash or cinder that has been built around a volcanic vent. The pyroclastic fragments are formed when explosive eruptions or lava fountains explode from a single vent.
As gas charged lava is blown violently into the air, it breaks into small fragments that solidify and fall as either cinders or scoria around the vent to form a cone that is often symmetrical with 30 and 40 degree angled slopes.
Usually, at the top of most cinder cones there is a crater, however, you won’t find a crater at the top of this Inferno Cone.
The hike up to the top of Inferno Cone and back down again is only 0.50 miles so it is actually quite a short trail, although very steep. But as we mentioned above, it is well worth the effort. From the top you can see other cinder cones, massive lava flows, and even Idaho’s mountain ranges to the north and northeast.
There is no official trail, you just make your way up the jet black walls of this cinder cone. Here is a trail guide for hiking up Inferno Cone where you can see some photography on what the view looks like from the top.