Tag Archives: tourism

Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater

One of the great things about traveling the country is that wherever we stop, our family will eventually join us!  My sister and her husband arrived for a long weekend and stayed in a cabin at our campground.

sunset crater and wupatki national monument

We took them on an adventure to visit Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument.

wupatki national monument and sunset crater8

Lynda and Jeff are very familiar with this part of the country.  Having done many road trips in Arizona and New Mexico, they knew exactly what they wanted to see again.


They suggested that we take the 73 mile Sunset Crater/Wupatki National Monument loop.  This scenic loop would take us through the vast lava fields of Sunset Crater and then onto the ancient pueblos that make up Wupatki National Monument.

Located about 15 miles north of Flagstaff, this was a fun day trip for all of us!

Sunset Crater

wupatki national monument and sunset crater

Our first stop was the amazing lava fields at Sunset Crater.  You see, nearly 1,000 years ago a fiery volcano destroyed the landscape and the tiny settlements that used to call this area home.

New mountains were created and where there used to be grassy meadows, there remains acres and acres of lava fields.

wupatki national monument and sunset crater

These photos truly do not do it justice.  There was hardened lava as far as the eye could see.

The lava and cinder rocks seem frozen in time, almost as if they had just cooled down last week.


There is a one mile self-guided loop trail located at the base of Sunset Crater, but hiking to the summit is no longer permitted. Unfortunately, the trail to the summit and crater was closed in 1973 because of excessive erosion caused by hikers.

wupatki national monument and sunset crater

The wildflowers in the area were just beautiful.  These are called Apache Plume.  It is a drought resistant plant that is located mainly in the southwestern US.

A thousand years ago, this land was desolate and barren.  Now nature rules again.

Our next stop was the Wupatki National Monument…

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