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Sunset Crater National Monument, Arizona

If you're planning to visit the Grand Canyon, you should check out Sunset Crater National Monument as well. Sunset Crater is just 30 minutes north of Flagstaff, Arizona on Highway 89. The crater was formed about 1000 years ago during a series of volcanic eruptions that devastated all life in its path. Today, the volcanic crater has slowly recovered, with animals, cacti, plants and wildflowers calling it home.

Sunset Crater offers you a close and personal look at what a volcano can do with its destructive force. Begin your visit at the Sunset Crater visitor center, located near the park entrance, where you can view exhibits and learn about the extinct volcano’s history. The best time to visit is spring or fall.

After exploring the visitor center, there‘s much to do and see. I recommend two trails, the Lava Flow Trail and the Lenox Crater Trail. The latter is more challenging, with steep hills, sharp rocks and loose cinders. Make sure to bring plenty of water.

There’s no camping or lodging in the park itself, but Bonito Campground and Coconino National Forest with full camping accommodations are just minutes away. The monument is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November - April and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May — October. Entrance fee is $5 per person for a seven-day pass. National Park Passes are also accepted.

It’s fairly simple to get to the monument. From Flagstaff, follow U.S. 89 north for 14 miles, turn right on the Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop road and continue for two miles to the visitor center.

(editor's note: trail to the top of Sunset Crater Volcano is closed due to erosional damage)

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If you're planning to visit the Grand Canyon, you should check out Sunset Crater National Monument as well. Sunset Crater is just 30 minutes north of Flagstaff, Arizona on Highway 89. The crater was formed about 1000 years ago during a series of volcanic eruptions that devastated all life in its path. Today, the volcanic crater has slowly recovered, with animals, cacti, plants and wildflowers calling it home.

Sunset Crater offers you a close and personal look at what a volcano can do with its destructive force. Begin your visit at the Sunset Crater visitor center, located near the park entrance, where you can view exhibits and learn about the extinct volcano’s history. The best time to visit is spring or fall.

After exploring the visitor center, there‘s much to do and see. I recommend two trails, the Lava Flow Trail and the Lenox Crater Trail. The latter is more challenging, with steep hills, sharp rocks and loose cinders. Make sure to bring plenty of water.

There’s no camping or lodging in the park itself, but Bonito Campground and Coconino National Forest with full camping accommodations are just minutes away. The monument is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November - April and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May — October. Entrance fee is $5 per person for a seven-day pass. National Park Passes are also accepted.

It’s fairly simple to get to the monument. From Flagstaff, follow U.S. 89 north for 14 miles, turn right on the Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop road and continue for two miles to the visitor center.

(editor's note: trail to the top of Sunset Crater Volcano is closed due to erosional damage)

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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