Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
4.5
About
Located north of Flagstaff, this crater was created by a volcanic eruption 900 years ago.
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The area

Address
6082 Sunset Crater Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
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  • kevan j
    Norman, Oklahoma1,484 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Should have stopped here before!
    What a neat little national monument! We visited here while completing the Wupatki-Sunset Crater loop drive (which I highly recommend). Fascinating lava fields all around with cinder cones galore. There are several short hikes through the lava fields...we enjoyed the Lava Flow Trail that goes right up to the base of the Sunset Crater. We only did the paved part up to the overlook, but the trail did continue to loop out through the lava. (Note: Hiking up the cinder cones is not allowed, and a couple of trails are still closed due to damage from last year's fires.). We loved the contrasts of the black lava and soil, the green foliage dotted throughout with beautiful wildflowers, and the blue sky with white and grey monsoon clouds. Sweet!
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 14, 2023
  • Mike M
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Like being on another planet
    It was an otherworldly experiences hiking through the Ah A Trail and the Lava Flow Trail. Pondering the fiery furnace that once was these lava flows and now walking upon their cooled remnants is quite an experience. The local native American verbal history seems to document what happened here and the impact it had on those peoples. It was worth the stop for a couple hours. Wish we had had the time to proceed to the 35 miles driving loop with overlook. We had lunch at picnic tables outside the visitor center. Only negative was the park ranger in the VC rather rude.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 11, 2023
  • Diana S
    North Branch, Minnesota140 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Volcanic cone and lava fields, close up
    Great views, and several paths with different levels of hiking. Learn about the volcanic eruptions around 1080 CE, and their effects on the people who lived here. It is part of the same loop as Wupatki National Monument, and we viewed both. Interesting to see the changes in the land as you approach Sunset Crater from the north. The ground is still covered in cinders, which affected the way people farmed the land. You are not able to hike up the volcano, but there are concrete trails around the base with information about the volcano. The A'a trail goes down into a lava field, with steep and slippery slopes. Be careful not to cut yourself on the volcanic rocks--they are sharp and will scrape you up if you fall. We viewed them from the overlook, which was amazing enough. The gigantic waves of volcanic chunks of rock give you a glimpse of the power of the lava. There is a small museum, with restrooms, and a few gift items.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 1, 2023
  • Austin T
    Nashville, Tennessee35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very cool - but some tougher hikes
    Being able to walk around the lava fields around the volcano was fascinating. Note that most of the trails (from what I saw) are on the gravely soil created by the lava flow. It can be tougher than usual trails, but the first bit of the Lava Flow Trail is paved and has spectacular views. That portion also has very informative stations as you walk through. This is definitely not something you see everyday, and I highly recommend!
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 3, 2024
  • MzKittyG
    Sun City, Arizona588 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Outstanding example of nature’s resilience
    I had no idea there was a volcano Arizona!! As you enter the park you can see evidence of a previous wildfire. As you go further into the park it’s even more evident. The trails were not well marked going in but coming back out we were able to find a couple. We stopped at the scenic overlook and then did the lava loop trail. Part of the trail was paved but the larger loop is loose pebble.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 26, 2024
  • Mary C
    Ada, Michigan303 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful in an eerie sort of way
    Beautiful in an eerie sort of way. Reminded me of seeing the volcano areas in Hawaii many years ago. The loop road brings you to Sunset Crater and Wupatki, highly recommend taking it. Water is a good idea.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written May 30, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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SFPEAKS
Tucson, AZ4 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Family
Our family visited the Sunset Crater Volcano National Park on 3/19/22. My husband and I have both been in the park on previous occasions; but we decided to make another excursion to the area to give our 3 year old son, who is interested in volcanoes, a hands on learning experience. The visitor center area that offers educational content to visitors is roped off but people are allowed to be in the exact same room to purchase merchandise and souvenirs!? This decision is illogical-- if the closure was made to facilitate the "health" and "safety" of guests, the entire one room visitor center would be closed. Only 3 people at a time were allowed into the gift shop side, so it seems reasonable to assume other accommodations could be made to provide patrons of the park access to educational content. If we'd known access to educational material in the visitor center was off limits, we would have saved the FULL price entry fee and visited the park at another time. At the very least park rangers should disclose ongoing closures, covid related or otherwise, to patrons before they pay to enter the park.
Written March 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynette51
Santa Barbara, CA1,826 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021
Day 2 of our road trip! After hiking thru Walnut Canyon the day before we headed out to Sunset Crater and again wow! Such different terrain from the day's hike before. We arrived early 8:30 am and it officially opens at 9 am. The park ranger told us to enjoy. We did 3 trail hikes - the A'a Trail - very easy; the Bonita Vista Trail again very easy and the Lava Flow Trail. The Lava Flow trail was really cool as it starts off paved and then you are off road so to speak. All of the trails are on lava rock so make sure you have good sturdy hiking shoes. The Lava Flow Trail once off the pavement is absolutely beautiful. So serene. I was keeping an eye open for wildlife as we were the only ones out there at that hour. There was quite a bit of snow & ice on the trail but just so quiet. Highly recommend this park!
Written March 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lance W
Lombard, IL202 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Sunset Crater is my favorite place near Flagstaff. The volcano itself is genuinely beautiful, with its graceful shape, different colored stone, and scattered pines. Next to it is Lenox Crater, a shorter cinder cone (250 feet or so), well worth the pant-inducing uphill hike. From the top of Lenox Crater, you have a superb view of the San Francisco Peaks (you get your best look at Sunset Crater itself while hiking the east flank of Lenox). At the foot of Sunset Crater, two paths—one short and paved, the other longer and unpaved—twist through the extensive lava flows that poured out from the base of the volcano. The rough, weird shapes the lava assumed before solidifying—spatter cones like tiny volcanoes, deep broken ridges, etc—are fascinating. Part of the pleasure is trying to imagine how all this looked as it was being formed. If you have the good fortune to visit in winter, the snow vividly sets off the black lava. It takes about 20-25 minutes to drive here from Flagstaff, and you can spend anywhere from one hour to several hours, depending on how much hiking you're up for. I can't imagine passing through Flagstaff without visiting here. Bring your camera.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mavrick71
Arizona348 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a great place to see amazing views of after effect what nature can do. Seeing the lava flow areas and what they left behind. (pictures don't do it justice) You don't have to go to Hawaii to see the rock formations when you have it your own back yard. This is a National Monument and there is a fee unless you have a park pass. It does have a couple of trails one is at the base of the mountain (recommend) but make sure your wearing tennis shoes or hiking boots. Also bring a bottle of water (more water for warmer days) its about a mile hike. Since your visiting Sunset Crater Volcano don't forget to stop by Wupatki National Monument that's within the same area. Depending on your hotel you could be 20-40 away. Enjoy and say hi to someone!
Written April 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kkoleary
Scottsdale, AZ784 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Family
The lava flows are really beautiful to see. The visitor center was closed (covid) and I think that might have made the trip much more interesting. We drove a short way and stopped at a lookout to see some beautiful lava formations. With the sun shining and new trees growing it was a pretty stop at side of road. A .2 mike hike allows you to walk through the fields but caution the cooled lava formations are sharp and the trail is slippery due to loose lava pebbles. The two lava flows is all you will see … the only view of the crater is a tough hike up the mountains at O’Leary campground. Overall you could be done in less than an hour. I recommend completing the loop by going 18 miles and down 2,000 feet to see some very well preserved Indian Pueblos. Make sure to stop at visitor center for information. Together both the lava and Pueblos make the trip worthwhile.
Written August 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carrie D.
Cleveland, OH2,295 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021
Sunset Crater Volcano NM is connected with Wupatki NM through a driving loop road, which made it really easy to see both. There are visitors centers on both ends.

Sunset Crater Volcano NM is a very cool national monument to visit and quite unlike any others that we have visited. We started at the visitor center to get our map. We stopped at the Lava Flow Trail and walked the loop--so crazy to see how large the lava fields are. We stopped at the overlook where we could see the Sunset Crater Volcano...and then we kept driving on towards Wupatki!

Definitely worth a visit if you're in the Flagstaff area!
Written March 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

vintagechina
Temecula, CA1,055 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020 • Solo
I planned to visit here. I have not been to a volcanic site and found this unexpected. There was a little snow on the ground but the roads were clear. The paths were great with information as you walked about. I would have liked more of a tour here as I had so many questions about it. Despite the weather there were quite a few visitors. At national parks there was is a fee but for older people it was only$20 for a year and this is for all of them. That is a deal. I was impressed that the area has been left to nature. It was such a pleasure to both drive and walk here.
Written November 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

triplover42
Glendale, CA116 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
This park is contiguous with the Wupakti National Monument; one entrance fee gets you into both (keep your receipt). It's really a threefer because you get volcanoes, ancient ruins and gorgeous painted desert landscapes all in one park, which is small enough to do in a day unless you want to complete every trail.

We had a great time tromping around on the lava, looking around the little visitors center, and taking in the lovely views of cinder cones and craters. There aren't a ton of trails but there are some options. Wupakti to the north is a can't-miss. Highly recommend this park.
Written March 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John D
Dallas, TX33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
We hit this site on our drive from the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff, as we were staying in Flagstaff on our last night of a weeklong trip to Sedona and Grand Canyon before flying out of the Flagstaff airport. This site is very convenient to Flagstaff. We actually were able to enjoy this site for free, as there was no one manning the booth that day so the Visitor Store folks said to just go enjoy the views/trails! So we did. My favorite part was walking the trails that take you down into the lava fields. Really cool. We only drove up to the scenic view of the actual volcano, did not take on the more indepth hike that is allowed to get closer to the volcano itself due to time and weather constraints.
Written September 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bidule05
France1,931 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is located in the northeastern area of Flagstaff. The powerful explosions of this 300 meter high volcano have transformed the surrounding landscape.
At entrance, we visited the Visitor centre, which has very fine displays and where the rangers are helpful.
Close to the visitor centre, we hiked the lunar Lava Flow, which allowed us to discover spectacular volcanic flows and to get close to the steep slopes of the volcano covered with black powder. The contrast was striking between the color of the red earth and the color of the black heart of the lava!
The ascent to the top of the volcano is not authorized, in order to better preserve the site.
Written April 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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