Located along Loop Road just outside the boundaries of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuement is this wonderful area called Painted Desert Vista. This vista also is equipped with picnic tables so you can relax and take in the beauty.GPS for Painted Desert: N35° 23' 26.34", W-111° 25' 55.524" - elevation 6201'more
While Sunset Crater Volcano was erupting, two lava flows originated at the base of the cinder cone. The Kana-A Flow outside the present monument boundary in the Coconino National Forest, broke through the eastern base of of the volcano and flowed more than six miles to the northeast, filling a narrow valley. The Bonito Lava Flow came from the...more
From here, you can see a very vast beautiful valley of the Cinder Cone Hills. In the valley in front of you lies a series of red cinder - covered vents, marking a fissure along which the most recent volcanic activity occured. Sunset Crater, the volcanic mountain on your right, began erupting in 1064 A.D. began erupting in 1064 A.D. and marks the...more
Between 1040 and 1100 Sunset Crater Volcano eruptioned several times destroying all plants within a 5-mile radius. A fountain of fire, 850 feet high, was visible for miles around. An ash cloud rose 2.5 miles into the sky, and falling ash covered about 64,000 acres. Sunset Crater was the reason for the Bonito and Kana-a lava flow. Sunset Crater...more
This wonderful trail is accessible for people with disabilities since it has a paved path. So everyone can enjoy. Although there is not hiking, you still get to enjoy the vegetation and beautiful scenery. There is parking and a restroom.Distance 1 mile round-tripTime 30 minutes round-tripDifficulty Easy to moderateAccessibility A 1/4-mile section...more
I really enjoy exploring these wonderful facilities. They are a wealth of information and so educational. They also are a great place to get out and stretch out your legs. Also there is usually picnic tables and restrooms too. They had some really neat exhibits here.more
Since Sunset Crater Volcano is closed to hiking due to erosional damage. This is a great way to spend some time with the family. From the top of the trail, you can see the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater and its lava flow.Distance 1 mile round-tripTime 45 minutes round-tripDifficulty StrenuousAccessibility Steep slopes covered with loose...more
This is a rather difficult drive to get up to the crater itself. From there, you need to park and hike in further. I was advised not to try and drive the road off Hwy 89, at 3 1/2 miles from Sunset entrance. Up from is FS 546 and that leads after 3 1/2 miles to FS 779. The hike to the crater top is rated strenuous because of the eroded cinder...more
All around the park 10+ mile drive, you can see these peaks from all vantage points. They are actually part of a 3,000 square mile volcano peaks and cinder cones created over 400,000 years ago and dating back to 1.4 million years BC. The large center collapsed and now this region is a huge caldera called the Inner BAsin.more
This is a 1/3 mile paved path at first, and then goes down into the crater flow for a total of one mile round trip. The trail runs right through some impressive lava flows and around to foot of Sunset crater. It is an eery feeling to be right next to this lava' jagged and been laying here in this state for over 1000 years, untouched. The Sunset...more
This is a steep climb (guess 12% grade)up a mountain side of 300 feet. You obviously have to come back down again. I felt like I was going to slide down and lose my footing and it could happen rather easily. The hike of the 30o feet straight up is not easy either; no switchbacks to get your breath. All that said, the hike was exhausting, but fun....more
This is the large designated area in the park. It is the lava flow that came off the Sunset crater and created a 2 1/2 square mile deposit of lava/basalt. Many areas have collapsed due to the gases that were escaping. That makes the hike treacherous. It is an open area that is not usually hiked. The reason is that it is difficult and dangerous to...more
By car or ... if your touring the classic Route 66 that runs through Flagstaff ... by motorbike.
The car is getting you aywhere (motorbikes of course also), but do not hesitate to leave it on a parkingplace and start walking. Only then you will experience the real natural wonders of the mountains and - for example around the Sunset rater - how nature overcomes distaters like a volcanic eruption.
Further North-East of Flagstaff there is a clear example from the still) indian discriminating and humiliation status of the North American indians. Maybe because the tribe was courageously fighting against the way more powerful 'invaders' of their land, they now still the price. Here Navajo-land is situated in a wasteland that is almost categorised as uninhabitable. Luckely now-a-days tourism (in the Monument Valley Tribal Park - see Kayenta - it finds it's highlight) brings some profit, but the living status is below any standard. A little more respect to the indians would not harm the status of all Americans.
The lava flows are sensitive and that is why they closed the access to the Sunset Crater back in 1973 because it was learned the walk up the mountain side was ruining the cinder cone and the environment for future grow of plants in the fertile mineral rich rock. Tracks up to the top and the trail still can be seen. The warning is to not do anything...more
Light clothing during the summer months. Sunscreen I suggest 45, hat, sunglass, water to go.
Photo Equipment: Whatever you have.
Miscellaneous: A lot of Stamina. Great Hiking!
Both Sunset Crater as well as Wupatki Monument (combined in one Park) are 'off the beaten track'-places. On the way to the larger National Parks one easily leaves them to the side of the freeway. But what's the sense in rushing and driving hundreds and hundreds of miles without stops. Plan your trip ahead and look whats right there along the road. This way you will see that in a few etappes you will also reach the National Parks and get as a bonus some nice surprises along the way.
I found this story and that is was interesting to share.By Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best Idea:Vincent Randall sits at a brown picnic table under a ponderosa pine on a blessedly calm day in April. Behind him, the cinder-strewn slope of Sunset Crater sweeps up a thousand feet into the blue sky. Randall introduces himself in his native...more
This one reads: Pollen from Epherdra has been found dating back some 150 to 200 million years ago. It is a primitive species with characteristics of both conifers and flowering plants. Mormon pioneers brewed the stiff twigs into a drink, probably after seeing Southwest Indians do the same. Ephedra is a stimulant and often used to treat congestion...more
With the park and located at the different vista's are these wonderful plaques of what plant life that flourishes in the park.This one reads: From April to October, white rose like flowers and plumes of white to pinkish feathery-tailed fruits make this shrub easy to identify. The plumed seeds remain on the plant until strong winds transport them...more