Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park

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  • Ubehebe Crater
    by WulfstanTraveller
  • Ubehebe Crater
    by WulfstanTraveller
  • Ubehebe Crater
    by WulfstanTraveller
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    Ubehebe Crater

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Feb 15, 2014
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    This is a large crater that is visually stunning and in an area of utter desolation (actually pretty common for Death Valley). It and the others with it were created when hot magma contacted water and instantly vaporized it to steam, creating an explosion. One can walk around it, go down into it, or walk to the other smaller Little Hebe. The walks are not long but the loose gravel makes walking more difficult.

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  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    The Ubehebe Crater

    by mikelisaanna Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The interior of the Ubehebe Crater
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    The Ubehebe Crater is a 770-foot deep and 3000-foot wide crater that was formed when groundwater heated by magma exploded over 3000 years ago. The area for miles around the crater is covered with cinders from the explosion. There is a road to the rim of the crater which allows you to walk to its edge and peer inside.

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  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    A Spectacular Crater

    by SteveOSF Written Jul 17, 2007

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    Ubehebe Crater
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    The late afternoon sun offers a spectacular view Ubehebe Crater. This volcanic crater lies just a few miles from Scotty's Castle. A road leads up to its rim for easy viewing. I thought this was well worth the drive. A one half mile trial leads to nearby Little Hebe Crater.

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  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    A large hole in the ground

    by PinkFloydActuary Written May 4, 2007

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    Ubehebe Crater

    Just 10 minutes or so west of Scotty's Castle lies the Ubehebe Crater. The crater is 500 feet deep, left after a volcanic explosion 3,000 years ago. As you can see, much of the area is covered in a dark volcanic ash.

    You have two hiking choices - up or down. Depends on whether you want your pain upfront or later, I guess. Going down takes you into the crater itself, going up gives you a better view of the crater, the surrounding area, and the Little Hebe Crater. The climb up to the little craters is on loose rock, so be prepared to take it slow coming back down (and please, don't fall into the crater!)

    I found the stark landscape to be worth the side trip. Going uphill takes roughly 15 minutes and is worth the rewarding views.

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Ubehebe crater

    by JLBG Written Apr 25, 2005

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    Ubehebe crater

    The rims are made of volcanic ashes. They have been submitted to water erosion which has carved deep crevices. The good thing of being in Ubehebe crater in the late afternoon is that the sun beam make a very dramatic aspect. A series of lawyers of orange ashes has been covered by a thick mantle of darker ashes.

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Ubehebe crater

    by JLBG Written Apr 25, 2005

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    Ubehebe crater

    From Mesquite Junction we are soon at Ubehebe crater. It is a volcanic crater and not a meteor crater. The photo shows here the center of the crater but unfortunately, we arrived a bit too late and most of the inside is already in the shade. It is about 700 meters wide and 250 meters deep.

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  • shivdeepmay's Profile Photo

    First "Climb" down then Climb up

    by shivdeepmay Written Feb 22, 2005

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    A hole on the surface

    For those who havent seen a crater you must visit the Ubehebe crater. For us, who have done a bit of mountain climbing, we are used to a "First Climb Up, then Climb down" rule. But here is a CRATER. In a crater you first "climb" (if you can call it that) down then you climb up/out. OK. Enough of that.

    When you reach the Ubehebe, make sure you have some protective clothing because the wind is pretty heavy around here. Take a few minutes and enjoy the view. Thats what we did. Then we climbed up to slope to see the Little Hebe. This is just a small crater. After that we started the descent down the Ubehebe. The descent takes about 20 minutes (if you do it slowly). At the bottom you get a good panoramic view of the crater. After a lot of photographs and "Ohs" and "Ahs" we started the climb up. This takes about 30 minutes. It was great fun to be in a crater.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Ubehebe Crater

    by Tom_Fields Written Jan 23, 2005
    Ubehebe Crater
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    Thousands of years ago (no one knows just when), underground molten rock moved so close to the surface that it superheated the water above it. This caused the water to burst out of the ground, making this huge crater. From the size and depth of it (it's about a half a mile in diameter), the force must have been comparable to that of a nuclear detonation. One of the many curiosities in Death Valley.

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  • Combinedefx's Profile Photo

    Black Beauty

    by Combinedefx Written Jun 20, 2004

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    Looking into the Crater

    The drive is about an hour from the core stops and worth it. Experiencing such dramatic changes in landscape is always a thrill, and this was odd as well. The ground turns into what looks like crushed charcoal all around. The black volcanic rock is widespread from the crater (6 miles), allowing a prelude of what is to come.
    The crater itself is awesome with formations along the sides to keep it interesting. Wildflowers were blooming along the trail down into the crater and I stopped to capture what I could. We did not go all the way to the bottom for lack of time and travelling on volcanic rock is not easy, especially uphill.
    The wind blew rather fiercely and lent to the atmosphere of desolate, raw, and everchanging.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Little Crater

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 4, 2003

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    Little Crater

    Next to Ubehebe Crater's west rim you'll find Little Crater. It's the smallest in the crater group, but has a complete round rim and beautiful volcanic shape. It also has a short rim trail. You can walk around it in a few minutes. Enlarge the photo and my fellow hikers at the rim (in the right of photo) can provide a scale to the size of the crater.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Panoramic View of Mini Crater

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 4, 2003
    Panoramic view of Mini Crater (click to expand)

    Ubehebe is not just 1 crater, but a group of craters. The famous ones are Ubehebe Crater and Little Crater - the two with the most complete volcanic shape. But there are also a few unnamed craters around. I counted about 6 in total.

    Start from the parking lot counter-clockwise, after hiking up the first hill you will see this unnamed crater. I called it "Mini Crater". It's bigger than Little Crater but has only half the rim. It's not that deep so it's easy to walk down to the bottom to take a look. Click on the photo to see the panoramic view.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Hiking Ubehebe Crater

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 4, 2003

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    Ubehebe Crater from south rim

    The hike along the Ubehebe Crater rim trail was great fun. The trail was mild, about 1.5 miles long, with a great view throughout. The whole time you trek on black lava surface.

    The photo was taken from the highest part of the rim, the south rim. This is also the steepest part of the crater, so watch your footings. In the left of the photo is the parking area. You can also see the trail to the bottom of the crater. That would be another interesting hike but I didn't try.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Aerial photo of Ubehebe Crater

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 4, 2003

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    Ubehebe Crater aerial photo

    Ubehebe Crater turned out to be the hightlight of my visit to Death Valley. The landscape was one of a kind, and the hike was interesting. The attached is an aerial photo of the Ubehebe Crater, reproduced from an interpretive display at the parking lot. You can clearly see Ubehebe and the smaller craters next to it. Also all the rim trails are in your line of sight.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Bottom of Mini Crater

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 1, 2003
    Bottom of Mini Crater

    The bottom of Mini Crater shows a different color (brown dirt) from the crater itself (black lava). A thin layer of brown dirt was carried down by the rain, then dried and cracked by the sun. Around the rim walls new plants start to grow from the harsh, barren lava land.

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  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Ubehebe Crater

    by mht_in_la Updated Dec 1, 2003

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    Ubehebe Crater

    The photo shows Ubehebe Crater as seen from the parking lot. It's a volcanic crater, not an impact crater. It measures half a mile wide, and about 750 feet deep from the deepest part. The explosion was estimated to have happened about 1,000 years ago, making it very young in geological time.

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