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Did you know that you can visit the site of the last volcanic activity in Arizona directly around the Arizona Flagstaff? The Sunset Crater National Monument (in combination with the Vupatka National Monument) is a beautiful day trip from Flagstaff.

The sunset crater is a unique experience, with the opportunity to walk between the lava and learn more about the lava flows, as well as interesting facts about how the sunset crater originated about 1000 years ago.

In this article you will learn all about visiting the Sunset Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona, including hiking trails and camping.

Come and explore the surreal beauty of the volcanic landscape at the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument in northern Arizona.

Where’s the crater of the volcano at sunset?

Sunset Crater is located northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, about 40 minutes drive from downtown Flagstaff.

Take the US-89 north of Flagstaff and follow the signs on the right side of the highway.

Watches and royalties


The Visitor Centre is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except at Christmas and New Year).

The paths are open every day from sunrise to sunset.


The rate is 7 days and includes the sunset crater and the Vupatka National Monument.

  • 25 per vehicle
  • 20 dollar engine
  • 15 USD Pedestrians/cyclists

Scroll to the end of this message for information about the campsite and its costs.

Crater Sunset Card

As you can see on the map of the Sunset Crater of the National Monument (below), all paths are close together, there is only one way through the park and the campsite is opposite the Visitor Centre.

At the Sunset Crater National Monument you don’t need a map in your hand, because every route has maps.

But it’s good to get a feeling where everything is before you leave.

Cinder Hill Review

Cinder Hills Overlook is a great place to see the sun set over the crater of the sunset, and if you’re lucky you can also see the moon rise.

I was lucky to see the sun set and the full moon rise in July.

When did the Sunset Crater volcano erupt?

The sunset crater is estimated between 1040 and 1150 n approximately. Chr. and is the most recent example of volcanic activity in the Flagstaff area of Arizona.

The eruption of the volcano and lava flow and the spreading of ash over hundreds of kilometres have changed the climate in the region. Lichens formed on the surface of the rocks and began to destroy the rock in the soil.

Around the volcano there was a splash of cones, which can be seen on the wave path.

Volcanic migration from the sunset crater

There are several short walking routes in the crater of the sunset, all of which can easily be done in one visit. Remember, lava rock is sharp and brittle, so be careful.

Extreme lava pad

Lava’s Edge is the longest path in the park, but it’s only 3.4 miles long in total. If it’s warm outside and you don’t feel ready for a full walk, you can do part of the walk and go back when you’re done.

There’s no shadow on the path. Don’t forget to bring a big hat, sunscreen, water, snacks and sturdy walking shoes.

  • Distance: 5.8 km round trip.
  • The view from the walk: Round trip.
  • Height increase: 175 feet (53 m)
  • Complicated: Moderate
  • The time has come: allow 2 to 2.5 hours.


A’a is a Hawaiian word for lava, a special kind of lava. Aa lava is rough and sharp.

Follow the short path in the A’a lava stream to the sunset crater to see how sharp the lava seems.

  • The distance: .2 miles (.3 km)
  • The view from the walk: Sling
  • Complicated: Simply
  • Time: 15 minutes

Lenox Craterway

Opposite the Aa Trip and the Lava Crater Trail you can walk the Lenox Crater Trail through a pine forest where a pandemic is raging.

The Lenox Crater Path offers beautiful views of the peaks of San Francisco, the Sunset Crater, the Bonito Lava Flow and O’Leary Peak.

  • The distance: 1.6 miles (2.5 km).
  • The view from the walk: Sling
  • Height gain: 275 (85 m)
  • It’s complicated: Simply
  • This is it: Plans of 1 hour

Bonito Vista

Bonito Vista is a paved path that leads you to the Bonito lava stream with a beautiful view. This path is accessible for wheelchair users.

  • The distance: .3 miles (.5 km)
  • The view from the walk: Round trip.
  • It’s complicated: Simply
  • Time: 20 minutes

Lava flow range

This interpretive walking path along the base of the sunset crater is the best path if you can only walk one way to the sunset crater.

  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km)
  • The view from the walk: Sling
  • Height increase: 72 feet (22 m)
  • Complicated: Simply
  • This is it: Plans of 1 hour

Camping Sunset Crater

Campsite Bonito is open from spring to mid-October and is located opposite the tourist centre of the Sunset Crater, in a pandemic pine forest. For more information about the campsite in Bonito, click here.

  • The cost of camping is $26 per night for 8 people with 1 vehicle.
  • The extra car costs $8.
  • Restriction of the stay of 14 days
  • Daily use is $8.00 for 5 people.

The campsite has 44 pitches with picnic tables, fire rings with cooking grids, drinking water, flush toilets and paved roads.

  • Tents, motorhomes and caravans up to 42” are allowed.
  • No reservations.
  • No power connection

Don’t forget to watch wildlife on the road, carnations often appear at sunrise and sunset.

Discover other fun activities around Flagstaff, Arizona on 17 day trips, including the beautiful city of Sedona with its incredible hiking trails such as the Little Horse Trail, or be enchanted by the Sedona Peace Park.

If you like hiking, don’t forget to visit the Oak Creek Canyon hiking trail (near Sedona), especially if you want to hike in the shade! For adventure and history, visit the Honanka Heritage Site.

Also take the time to make an exciting trip to Winslow, Arizona, and then head to Petrified Forest National Park.

Have fun travelling and enjoy your stay in Arizona!

Let P Interesse and SHARU take care of it!

Sharing is well thought out!

The buzzwords: Arizona

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