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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

#6 in Best Things To Do in Flagstaff

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument picture in Flagstaff
Michele Falzone / Getty Images

Key Info

Details

  • Monuments and Memorials, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.1
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.5
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Around 900 years ago, a volcano – which has come to be called Sunset Crater – erupted and transformed the encircling area. Geologic features like cinders, lava rock and lava flow compose this almost otherworldly topography, which is punctuated by ponderosa pines. Some of the more popular ways to experience the park include hiking the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail or climbing up to the Cinder Hills Overlook. Keep in mind that backcountry hiking is forbidden for preservation purposes.

Visitors use words like "dramatic" and "incredible" to describe the experience of walking around on lava rocks and cinders. To save some money, other travelers suggest driving around the national monument for free rather than getting out on foot and paying the entrance fee.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The park charges $20 for a private vehicle entrance; those entering the park on foot or bicycle pay $10. Keep in mind that this entrance fee will also give you access to the Wupatki National Monument and is valid for seven days. To get here, you'll drive about 20 miles north of central Flagstaff. For more information, visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument's website

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#1 Historic Downtown and Railroad District Built along the railroad track – and what would become Route 66 – the Historic Downtown and Railroad District is a pedestrian-friendly area filled with historic 1900s-era buildings that have been converted ... Read more » Flagstaff CVB

#2 Walnut Canyon National Monument The 3,600-acre Walnut Canyon National Monument was established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson to protect the ancient dwellings carved into the area's cliffs. Archaeologists believe that ancient ... Read more » fdevalera / Getty Images

#3 Lowell Observatory At the Lowell Observatory, visitors can conjure their inner-astronomer by peering through world-class telescopes and sitting in on lectures on topics like black holes and the history of Pluto. This ... Read more » Flagstaff CVB

#4 Flagstaff Extreme Flagstaff Extreme is an adventurous obstacle course in which participants ages 7 and older can test their limits on challenges like rope swings, scrambling walls and wobbly bridges, among dozens ... Read more » Michelle Koechle / Flagstaff CVB

fdevalera / Getty Images

#6 Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Around 900 years ago, a volcano – which has come to be called Sunset Crater – erupted and transformed the encircling area. Geologic features like cinders, lava rock and lava flow compose ... Read more » Michele Falzone / Getty Images

#7 Riordan Mansion State Historic Park In 1904, brothers Michael and Timothy Riordan, members of a prominent Arizona family, commissioned two nearly identical mansions at the summit of Flagstaff's Kinlichi Knoll. Architect Charles Frederick Whittlesey ... Read more » Christine Riggle / Flickr

#8 Museum of Northern Arizona The Museum of Northern Arizona is an homage to the culture and nature of Northern Arizona's Colorado Plateau. Founded in 1928, the museum has permanent exhibits that range from ... Read more » Flagstaff CVB

#9 Arizona Snowbowl Nestled in the San Francisco Peaks at 9,500 feet, the Arizona Snowbowl is one of the state's best spots for skiing and snowboarding. The Snowbowl offers three different ... Read more » Flagstaff CVB

Historic Downtown and Railroad District picture in Flagstaff
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Lowell Observatory picture in Flagstaff
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Wupatki National Monument picture in Flagstaff
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument picture in Flagstaff
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park picture in Flagstaff
Museum of Northern Arizona picture in Flagstaff
Arizona Snowbowl picture in Flagstaff
Historic Downtown and Railroad District picture in Flagstaff
Walnut Canyon National Monument picture in Flagstaff
Lowell Observatory picture in Flagstaff
Flagstaff Extreme picture in Flagstaff
Wupatki National Monument picture in Flagstaff
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument picture in Flagstaff
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park picture in Flagstaff
Museum of Northern Arizona picture in Flagstaff
Arizona Snowbowl picture in Flagstaff

Flagstaff's Historic Downtown and Railroad District dates back to the 1900s and is filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and bars.  Flagstaff CVB

On a hike through Walnut Canyon National Monument, visitors will see preserved cave dwellings dating back to the 12th century.  fdevalera / Getty Images

At Lowell Observatory, visitors can stare into the same telescopes that helped discover Pluto years ago. Flagstaff CVB

Participants in Flagstaff Extreme complete challenges high up in the ponderosa pine canopy.  Michelle Koechle / Flagstaff CVB

Wupatki National Monument features amazingly preserved pueblos that are hundreds of years old.  fdevalera / Getty Images

Visitors to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument can hike the paths of lava flow from 900 years ago.  Michele Falzone / Getty Images

Christine Riggle / Flickr

Hoping to gain a cultural and geological understanding of this region of the state? Plan a visit to the Museum of Northern Arizona Flagstaff CVB

In the winter, Arizona Snowbowl's chairlift drops skiers and snowboarders on the slopes, and in the fall, it offers great views of the stunning fall foliage.  Flagstaff CVB

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