Sunset Crater N.M. – Arizona

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument


As we make our way from Sedona, north to the Grand Canyon, we take a slight detour to visit the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The park service says between 1040 and 1100 the surrounding area was inhabited by farmers known to archeologists as the IMG_1037Sinagua people. These people witnessed the emergence of a new mountain first hand. The eruption of Sunset Crater spewed fire and rock into the sky and molten lava flowed as if the earth herself was reclaiming the ground they borrowed as their own. Though farm lands and homes were destroyed, there is no evidence that lives were lost as if the ancient peoples had prior warning to flee the area for safety.


Sunset Crater has been dormant for 800 years now. The vast beds of lava rock are still very prominent as if the eruption took place much more recently.


Hiking to the top of Sunset Crater is no longer allowed, but you can take the 1 mile loop to the top of Lenox Crater. When Sunset Crater erupted the lava and ash debris settled into Lenox Crater almost filling in completely. I couldn’t say what it looked like before, but now a soft slope made up of cooled lava rocks can be found in its place.

Really cool to see, and the view of the San Francisco Peaks is just amazing from the top.



fullsizeoutput_4d1-Lenox Crater Loop Trail-

Definitely different that anything else we’ve seen. Though it would stand to reason, we have never been in a lava bed before!




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