Information about this hike provided in partnership with Mountaineers Books.
© Mountaineers Books.
New parking areas with trail signage guiding folks to these craters make it easy to enjoy them. For the first stretch of your legs, hike 0.5 mile northeast from the parking area to the Amphitheater Crater--one of the bigger pits to explore. There is a faint trail in places and game trails in other areas--even a little bit of flagging in winter of 2003. Return to your vehicle but keep walking northwest for a 0.5-mile loop to Rose Crater. As you explore the lands around the holes, enjoy the rich sagebrush ecosystems and the presence of some beautiful birds. This area boasts a sizeable population of horned larks.
After enjoying nearly a mile of walking around the Rose and Amphitheater Craters, drive your vehicle northwest another 0.3 mile on SR 21 and turn left into the parking access for the Cache Crater Trail (we spotted a herd of seven mule deer here during our research visit).
Cache Crater Trail winds 0.2 mile to a deep pit of a crater. Though the distance is short, the beauty is great. Enjoy the wildflowers and the wildlife. In addition to the deer, you'll likely see quail along the path, and hawks high above.
From Vantage, drive east on Interstate 90 to exit 206, signed "State Route 21-Lind/Odessa." After exiting, turn left and drive 18.1 miles north on SR 21 into Odessa. Continue 6.7 miles past Odessa on SR 21 to a parking area signed for "Odessa Craters."
Recent Trip Reports
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There are 2 trip reports for this hike.
Odessa Craters — Mar 12, 2011 — runbrianj
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Water on trail
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We (my wife and 3 kids aged 3-9) enjoyed hiking to a couple of the craters today. Coming from the n...
We (my wife and 3 kids aged 3-9) enjoyed hiking to a couple of the craters today. Coming from the north, we first parked on the west side of the road at a well-marked turnout. It was a short hike and the trail looked newly-surfaced with some kind of crushed rock. There were two benches along the trail which also looked pretty new, as well as a sign-kiosk at the trailhead.
I'm not sure I really understand the geology . . . do a little Google-ing and find someone who knows what they're talking about. It was a weird, rocky, hole-in-the-ground.
We drove south from there about 1/2 mile and then parked at another well-signed turnout on the east side of the road. This trail also features new-looking improvements. The route from the trailhead makes a big loop and the terrain is pretty rocky overall. Mostly, it looks newly-routed like it needs a few hundred people to hike on it to wear it in.
We liked the frequent posts marking the trail, and they even feature arrows so you know where to turn. It was probably a 1-2 mile loop. The kids stumbled a few times on the uneven surface, but it was a good hike. We saw some small yellow wildflowers, which surprised me considering it's early March! The main sight on the trail is Amphitheater Crater (I believe that's what it's called). You drop down into a basin that has a small lake, and there are a couple concentric fins of rock ringing around the pool. I'm pretty sure it's a geologically-unique situation.
I also liked the fact that, with it being early in the season, there were no issues with rattlesnakes and mosquitoes. You'd want to really have the deet and watch your step in the summer. We did have some issues with mushy spots in the trail, but nothing we had much trouble hopping over or routing around.
Ring Dike Craters, Odessa — May 01, 2006 — Kim Brown
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Ring Dike Craters. I’m not making this up! Several years ago, I purchased a book by Marge & Ted Mu...
Ring Dike Craters. I’m not making this up! Several years ago, I purchased a book by Marge & Ted Mueller – ""Fire, Faults & Floods"" from the University of Idaho Press, which details the topography of the entire area affected by the Bretz and Missoula floods. In it are detailed descriptions of the various affects of the basalt flows and subsequent floods, and where to find examples. Ring dike craters seemed like a really neat thing to go see. So I did.