I had a spare afternoon on the way down to SLC to catch a plane, so I stopped by Craters of the Moon National Monument for a brief overnight. In short, it's a great out of the way destination for backcountry exploration.
The monument staff said that well under 100 people spend a night out in the backcountry each year. Once off the trail, I saw no evidence of anyone else. I got my permit in about 4 minutes, and paid exactly zero dollars (a refreshing contrast to other parks).
I parked at the southern end of the loop drive (tree molds) and hike south on the "wilderness trail" for a few miles. T-storms were scudding off in the distance, and that, the mild temps, and the wet spring (flowers!) made for sublime hiking. When it looked interesting I zigged west to explore the edge of the a lava flow. Craters isn't the place to make big miles, it's the place to wander and poke around in the wild terrain that's so close to the road's end. I had fun climbing through the lava, checking out the craters, sinkholes, and faulting. Not fast walking, but more enjoyable than the sage walking the predominates off the rock.
I started hiking a bit before six in the evening, and around nine started to think about a camping spot. Finding a flat spot without talus isn't the easiest thing to do around there, but I found a nice spot in a small crater near The Sentinel. While I was cooking I had an amusing reminder of unique nature of the topography. I had anchored the corners of my E-Wing with rocks, as usual. Problem is, lava rocks are way light for their size. A strong gust sent the tarp folding and me hunting for more rocks.
I slept well, considering I only brought my 60 quilt , a wool hat, and a primaloft vest. I woke up cold around 2 am and had to do a few situps so I could fall back asleep. I was up a little before six, on the trail within 30 minutes, and back to the truck by 830. A great trip, and a great way to sneak one in, too.