Menan Buttes Trail
The Menan Buttes trailhead is reached by a quiet country backroad, forking south from Hwy 33; this crosses farmland to the parking area a little way up the western slope, from where the crater rim rises 500 feet directly ahead. The path is steep, mostly lacking any switchbacks, instead heading straight up the hillside, and is aided in one place by chains. The ground is liable to be dusty, the path covered by loose earth and stones, so the route is slippery, especially when descending, and all of the hillside is exposed and very hot in summer. The surroundings become rockier towards the top, where jagged outcrops of brownish, glassy tuff rise up. At the rim, the ground ahead slopes down 200 feet to the floor of the shallow crater, while the rim extends all around, lowest directly opposite, on the southeast side, highest to the northeast and southwest. The summit to the north is the site of a communications installation, which spoils the natural appearance somewhat, and causes the rim trail to divert downhill for a few hundred feet. The most impressive, vegetation-free volcanic deposits are towards the south side of the rim, once site of a vent, as is explained by one of several interpretive notices along the way. The rocks exposed along the rim and the upper part of the approach trail are blackish brown or sometimes reddish in color, eroded into cavities and small pinnacles, with some covering of green, yellow and orange lichen, but overall the place is not particularly photogenic. Views from the rim encompass the Snake River to the east, the other butte to the south, and the St Anthony Sand Dunes to the north, otherwise all the horizon is flat, and usually hazy. The Teton Range
is generally out of sight, 50 miles east, except on very clear days.