- Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument was created to protect the volcanic cinder cone, prehistoric cliff dwellings and mountain scenery within the area. The Sunset crater was created from an eruption that occurred around 1064 or 65. Anthropologists believe Ancient Indians witnessed the eruption of Sunset Crater as it blanketed the region with black cinder. Cliff dwellings in the area date to the period of the eruptions.
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Unique natural features of this park include the volcano's rim of red cinders and the lava flows, that seem to have cooled and hardened recently. Squeeze-ups and hornitos are just two of the fascinating volcanic features you'll encounter while exploring the park. At Sunset Crater Volcano you will see a cinder cone rising 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape.
Recreation - Facilities at this National Monument include a visitor center, with exhibits, picnic areas, hiking trails and a campground. To protect this fragile resource, Sunset Crater Volcano is closed to climbing and hiking. However, other cinder cones in the area may be climbed and the park includes several trails to other destinations. The one mile (1.6 km) Lava Flow Trail, with a 1/3 mile, 500 meter cutoff, is a self-guided loop exploring a variety of volcanic formations. The Lenox Crater Trail provides an opportunity to climb a cinder cone. This steep trail is one mile (1.6 km) round trip and requires about 30 minutes to ascend and 15 minutes to descend.
Backcountry hiking is allowed except on Sunset Crater Volcano. Use extreme caution hiking on lava - it is sharp, brittle and unstable. The monuments only campground, Bonito Campground, is located across from the visitor center and generally open from late May through mid-October. Maximum vehicle size for this site is 35 feet with no hookups. It is generally open from late May through mid-October. Maximum vehicle size is 35 feet, no hookups, $10 per night. For further information call the U.S. Forest Service at 520-526-0866. Overnight accommodations, food, supplies, and gasoline are available in Flagstaff (14 miles/22 km). Flagstaff Visitor Center: 1-800-842-7293.
Entrance fees that include both Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano are $3 per person (16 and under free). Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and Golden Access Passports are accepted. Commercial tour fees are charged according to vehicle capacity: 1-6 $30, 7-25 $45, 26 or more $100. Fees are collected at Sunset Crater Volcano.
Climate - The climate in central Arizona is hot and dry, especially during the summer months. Be prepared for abrupt weather changes in any season. Expect windy conditions most of the year. Spring is usually mild but heavy snowfall can occur. Summer days are warm with temperatures in the 80s. Afternoon thunderstorms can be expected July through September. In winter, snow and freezing temperatures alternate with mild weather.
This site lies north of Flagstaff along Highway 89. It is surrounded by National Forests and lies a short distance south of Wupatki National Monument.