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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Marvel at fascinating geological features and varied wildlife on the scenic hikes and self-drive tour that skirt this almost millennia-old volcano.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a spectacular natural attraction and the most recently formed volcano in Arizona’s San Francisco Volcanic Field. Follow hiking trails and scenic roads to viewpoints and get up-close to the volcano’s interesting landscapes and wildlife. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument formed around 900 years ago following an eruption in a region inhabited by prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan people. The volcano’s cone is some 1,000-feet (305-meters) tall and the crater is 400-feet (122-meters) deep.

Start your visit at the Sunset Crater Volcano Visitor Center, where you can pick up information about the trails, guided hikes and ranger talks. Take a moment to browse the gallery of exhibits, which educate about volcanoes, their unique topography and the forces that cause them to erupt. Sit at the visitor center’s picnic tables to take in views of ash fields and the imposing volcanic slopes.

Choose from three short trails that present views of basalt formations, cinder cones and fossilized red rocks. Spot the rugged San Francisco Peaks and stand in places where hot lava once flowed. See birdlife, such as bluebirds, golden eagles and Steller jays, as well as lizards and snakes. A popular walk is the Lava Flow Trail, a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) long route that affords some of the best views of the volcano and crater.

An alternative to walking is to drive along a picturesque 34-mile (55-kilometer) long loop road. It takes in the volcano and the nearby Wupatki National Monument, a volcanic area home to the ruins of five prehistoric villages. Stop off at Cinder Hills Overlook for superb photo opportunities.

This striking natural landmark is about a 30-minute drive from Flagstaff. There is no public transport service so it’s advisable to get here via rented car. Free parking is available at the visitor center.

Access to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is from dawn until dusk year-round. Fees are applicable and are also valid for entrance to Wupatki National Monument. The volcano’s location does not work on GPS units so be sure to take a map. A schedule of guided hikes and ranger programs is listed at the visitor center.

Make the most of your time spent at Sunset Crater. Here is a list of the best activities:

Wondering what activities you can do at this famed attraction? We recommend purchasing a Northern Arizona & Grand Canyon Day Tour with Lunch.

Check out our Flagstaff things to do page to learn about more activities in the area.


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Sunset Crater

See all 147 Properties near Sunset Crater
Flagstaff Country Mountain Getaway, Pet Friendly and Family Friendly!
Flagstaff Country Mountain Getaway, Pet Friendly and Family Friendly!

Flagstaff Country Mountain Getaway, Pet Friendly and Family Friendly!

Flagstaff, AZ
     
    0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Flagstaff, this romantic vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace, Sunset Crater, and Bushmaster Park. Buffalo Park is 11.7 mi (18.9 km) away.

    Beautiful Country Setting, Views, hot Tub, Next to Forest and Minutes From Town $168
    Beautiful Country Setting, Views, hot Tub, Next to Forest and Minutes From Town

    Beautiful Country Setting, Views, hot Tub, Next to Forest and Minutes From Town

    Flagstaff, AZ
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located near the slopes, this Flagstaff vacation home is within 9 mi (15 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace and Sunset Crater and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Bushmaster Park and Buffalo Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).

      Windy View Ranch: Amazing Mountain Views, Backs Forest, 180+ 5-star Reviews!
      Windy View Ranch: Amazing Mountain Views, Backs Forest, 180+ 5-star Reviews!

      Windy View Ranch: Amazing Mountain Views, Backs Forest, 180+ 5-star Reviews!

      Flagstaff, AZ
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located near the slopes, this Flagstaff vacation home is within 9 mi (15 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace and Bushmaster Park and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and sledding. Sunset Crater and Buffalo Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).

        Incredible 360° Mountain Views Friends N Family Home w/ Game Room & Fenced Yard $239
        Incredible 360° Mountain Views Friends N Family Home w/ Game Room & Fenced Yard

        Incredible 360° Mountain Views Friends N Family Home w/ Game Room & Fenced Yard

        Flagstaff, AZ
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Set in Flagstaff, this family-friendly vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace, Bushmaster Park, and Sunset Crater. Buffalo Park is 11.3 mi (18.1 km) away.

          FlagRanch - 4 Br cabin by RedAwning
          FlagRanch - 4 Br cabin by RedAwning

          FlagRanch - 4 Br cabin by RedAwning

          12050 N Copeland Ln, Flagstaff, AZ
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Flagstaff, this cabin is within 12 mi (20 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace, Bushmaster Park, and Sunset Crater. Buffalo Park is 11.6 mi (18.7 km) away.

            Forest Lodge Backing National Forest With Mountain Views
            Forest Lodge Backing National Forest With Mountain Views

            Forest Lodge Backing National Forest With Mountain Views

            Flagstaff, AZ
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Set in Flagstaff, this family-friendly vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace, Bushmaster Park, and Sunset Crater. Buffalo Park and Thorpe Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).

              Mountain View Lodge 1hr To The Grand Canyon And Sedona $225
              Mountain View Lodge 1hr To The Grand Canyon And Sedona

              Mountain View Lodge 1hr To The Grand Canyon And Sedona

              Flagstaff, AZ
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Set in Flagstaff, this family-friendly lodge is within 12 mi (20 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace, Bushmaster Park, and Sunset Crater. Buffalo Park and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra are also within 12 mi (20 km).

                The Cove Flagstaff Mountain View Home $84
                The Cove Flagstaff Mountain View Home

                The Cove Flagstaff Mountain View Home

                Flagstaff, AZ
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in a rural location, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Flagstaff Mall and The Marketplace, Bushmaster Park, and Buffalo Park. Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and West of the Moon Gallery are also within 12 mi (20 km).