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SP Crater


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SP Crater

Hiking Trail

SP Crater

by: Honza
Location:  Flagstaff, AZ          Longitude:  -111.6331    Latitude:  35.5771
This is a short but VERY steep hike up a perfect cinder cone volcano!
Features and Interests:   Known to be one of the best examples of a cynder cone volcano (symmetrical cone). Has a large lava field from its eruption to the north of the volcano. It's an 800 ft high cone, with a 400 ft deep crater; last eruption approximately 71,000 years ago. Amazing geological formations, especially on the top of the cone!
Flora/Fauna on this Trail:
There are 2 ways to ascend this cone: 1) head straight up from the southern side - bad idea or 2) head to the small right/ascend to the west of the crater and then ascend the cone - best idea! Main reason for this deduction is the ascend of the cone. Since this is a volcano with loose rock, every 3 steps you take up will slide you back down 1 step. Combine this with the high altitude of the area, you will be puffing pretty quick!

So, start making your way around the cone to the west via a gradual incline/slope to the western rise (save you good 200+ ft of elevation). Once there, you will see a trail leading up the volcano in a wide zigzag pattern. Be careful, this is lose rock so stay as close to the *path* as you can and look for firm/less loose grounds. Once you summit to the ridge of the volcano, you will have great 360 degree views and see many interesting geologic formations, including the very deep crater.
Trail Distance:  1.5 miles round-trip
Elevation:  6200ft - 7025ft   (change 825ft)
Trail Difficutly:  Moderate - requires some endurance, elevation changes
How Crowded:  Solitude
Season:  August to June
Accomodations: (on site) From Flagstaff, take the 89 north to mile post 446 and take a left on the dirt road close by. The dirt road is *pretty* well maintained, but a high clearance vehicle makes the trip easier (although normal car is fine too at careful speeds). Keep left at all forks and you will come to the southish side of the crater; don't worry, you won't get lost, just keep going towards the most symmetrical crater in sight which is already visible from the route 89.Good dirt road with rough patches, off-road vehicle recommended.
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Trail Ratings and Comments