Looking at pics i dont get what's so great about this place. You need to be physically present to appreciate the magnitude of the desolate, alieness of the crater.
Hike was relatively easy, my husband w/ a baby strap to him, me w/ slippers (not intentionally), and in-laws in their late 50's all did it w/o much difficulties. Going counterclockwise from Thurston Lava tube, beginning was around the rim, all flat, with sharp decent into the crater w/ tons of steps. inside crater is all flat, followed by switch backs back up to the parking lot, this part can feel a little long.
We got rained on before we hit the crater floor and for most of rest of the hike. It got decently cold. So definitely bring good rain gear. We did not drink much water because of the cold/rain. Though I could imagine how hot it can get at the bottom, surrounded by black lava.
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