“hike the trails through the lava flow and cinders”
Located north of Flagstaff, this crater was created by a volcanic eruption 900 years ago.
Coconino National Forest at 928-526-0866
From Flagstaff, take U.S 89 north for 12 miles (19km), turn right on the Sunset Crater - Wupatki Loop road and continue 2 miles (3km) to the visitor center.
Stay at Bonito Campground in Coconino Natioanl Forest.
I was disappointed to realize that I couldn't hike up to see the hole of the crater but I did drive around the park and did a lava walk. Its pretty amazing to see the scenery and imagine people once inhabited the area. For 5$, you can't beat it.
So it was blustery and looked like it was going to rain... was bummed no one mentioned to get/buy the guidebook for the interpretative trail. Would have loved to have known what all the markers were about. Amusingly, one of the rangers told me to camp across 89 for free instead of paying to camp. It was unique - I had never even heard of it before - thought it was a meteor crater from the name until I got there. Did the Lenox Crater trail - don't wear open toed shoes or sandals as you end up with your shoes full of them. Some of the trails can be a bit challenging terrain-wise for those not accustomed to rocky trails... BUT they also have a paved section of the Interpretative trail for those preferring a more flat path. It is worth a visit for a couple of hours - entry is $5/pp over 15. (Did not hear them say 7 days like other NM/Parks) Would I return? Nope. Small park - really odd - some of the staff are quite nice, but one Ranger was a bit of an ornery twit.
Amazing landscape. When you are in the core of the dead volcano, it's like you are on a completely different planet. Side note - the rabbits out here are the largest I've ever seen... like, sheepdog size.
An unforgettable visit. It was definitely worth the trip. Stunning.
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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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