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Sunset Crater - Lava Flow Trail


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Sunset Crater - Lava Flow Trail

Hiking Trail

Sunset Crater - Lava Flow Trail

by: Honza
Location:  Flagstaff, AZ          Longitude:  -111.5181    Latitude:  35.3638
The Lava Flow Trail winds through lava flows and cinder fields at the base of Sunset Crater displaying an amazing volcanic landscape.
Features and Interests:   Sunset Crater Volcano was born in a series of eruptions sometime between 1040 and 1100. The powerful explosions caused lava flows and cinders that drove out the local Sinagua people; still look very fresh and rugged! The type of lava is Aa (see "Types of Lava" article under "Guides and Information").
Flora/Fauna on this Trail:
The NPS has a $5 individual or $25 annual fee/pass for this park.

Right from the parking lot, this short trail offers spectacular views of the volcano and surrounding landscape. Truly unique, try not to rush this trail and take in the rugged beauty.

The first 1/4 mile of the trail is paved but leads to an overlook of the basin. At this overlook, you will take a "hidden" left leading down into the volcanic field. Be careful as the rock is extremely sharp and surfaces have gravel. Going through the lava field you will have a short climb on the near side of the crater and eventually wrap back around to the paved trail (loop with a loop).

As you are walking around, take notice of all the different lava flow outlets and formations.
Trail Distance:  1.1 miles round-trip
Elevation:  6950ft - 7100ft   (change 150ft)
Trail Difficutly:  Easy - stroll through the park
How Crowded:  Occassional passing
Season:  February to November
Accomodations: (on site)   Toilets  Ranger StationFrom Flagstaff, take U.S 89 north for 12 miles, turn right on the Sunset Crater - Wupatki Loop road and continue 2 miles to the visitor center. Once in the park, you will see the Lava Flow Trail parking/turn-off to the right (about 1.25 miles).Paved road or trail to the trailhead
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Trail Ratings and Comments