We decided on seeing sunset at the summit so we could enjoy the drive up and we are so glad we did, We were amazed at the change in landscapes as we got higher and the view going up was something to see and experience. Take note the ticket booth doesn't give change for your park pass so have the $10 per car. Once at the top we stopped at the crater lookout.....that is a sight in itself looking over into that vast area with all the changes in colors.. Wow. We arrived at the summit lookout about 45 min from sunset.. Took a look around at the observation area with all the great information, It was cold and windy but we were prepared and dressed for the occasion, Our biggest laugh of the day was seeing everyone wrapped in the striped hotel towels and even one lady in a bedspread. Not everyone reads trip advisor before taking this trip I guess :). As the sun went down I realized that the observatory that is at the summit (not open to public) sits directly in front of where the sunset would take place so after a few photos and some deliberation we decided our best view would be a little down the mountain at one of the lookouts so that's what we did and it was amazing, the view of sunset was stunning. We stopped at a couple different places and even made it out of the park area before dark. Maybe the sun sets a bit farther north so the observatory isn't always in the way but in December it sure was. I'm glad we chose to descend for some shots, This was worth the drive and even if you aren't keen on sunrise do this instead, Equally amazing!
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