Meandering Life Rating: [usr 4.5]
CAMPSITE REVIEW: Lava Flow Campground, Craters of the Moon National Monument
Cost: $15/night with National Park Pass ($7/night for Senior Pass holders)
Dump/Water On-site: Fresh water spigots seasonally, no dump
This is a first-come, first-serve campground inside the national monument. We could not find many options in the area for free camping so tried it out. It worked out well because being right inside the park makes it much easier to take in all the sights and there were many! What a crazy place to visit. The rangers love to tout that it is the only national recreation area protected because it is “weird”. Strangely enough these were my exact words when we arrived. What a weird place!! We stayed two nights in the beginning of June 2018. Weather was perfect. There are two spots (#1 & #2) off the road before you enter the actual campground for big rigs that want a little isolation. We decided to see what else we could find. There were several spots to choose from for our 30 ft rig. They also had a separate section for smaller RVs and tents. We stayed in spot #36 right across from the trail to the amphitheater. We had no trouble leveling in this spot and most of the spots seemed fairly level. The pay station was closed so we found a spot and then paid at the self-pay kiosk. I could not figure out how to pay for multiple nights so went back the next day and paid again. If you are a senior pass holder the kiosk will allow you to choose that option for the discount. The campground is very easy to find as it is right down the road from the visitor center. I would recommend getting the times and locations for the ranger led trails and presentations at the visitor center because you do not want to miss those! Big negative is there is no dump station on-site. There is a dump station down the road in Arco near Jack’s Travel Center. You really need to bring everything with you because the towns nearby are small and have very few services. The views at the campground are crazy. You are surrounded by volcanic rock. The rock likes to stick in shoes and doggy pads so be careful. The roads in the park and campground are all blacktop to match the surrounding area so they can get too hot in the sun. Make sure you check that before taking your furry friends for a walk. We did not have trouble when we were there and were able to walk our dogs around the campgrounds both days. Cell phone service was questionable. We were able to get 2-3 bars of AT&T for internet access with a small booster. We had no cell service with AT&T for phone calls. The Verizon hotspot was not much better for internet without the booster. We saw just about everything in the two days so you do not have to stay too long here. We would highly recommend this campground and even if you do not stay here make sure to check on the national monument.