Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

While working at my internship in Phoenix the summer of 2014, I spent my weekends solo exploring Arizona. I went to a lot of museums and countless day trips around the state. It got to the point where I had been to places that my coworkers who had lived in Phoenix 5+ years had not heard of. One of my favorite conversations I had during my internship was with my boss and a coworker about volcanoes. I had been working on my computer when I caught a bit of the argument my boss and a coworker were having, with my boss saying there was a volcano in Arizona and our coworker saying there was no way there was a volcano in the state. As it so happened, I had spent the previous Saturday at said volcano. I pulled the postcard of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument off of my cubicle’s bulletin board and took it over to show the coworker. My boss thought it was hilarious.

the argument winning postcard

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument  is located North of Flagstaff, Arizona off of Highway 89.

Less than a thousand years ago, Sunset Crater Volcano erupted sending two lava flows – the Bonito and the Kana – from it’s base. In the 1960s, the Apollo astronauts came to the area to train before their mission because its landscape is the most similar to that of the moon here on Earth.


Lava Flow Trail

I hiked the Lava Flow Trail and the Lenox Crater Trail. The Lava Flow Trail is pretty mellow, but the Lenox Crater Trail has a decent elevation gain that kicked my not-yet-in-shape-butt.

Lenox Crater Trail
view from the Lenox Crater Trail

One of my most vivid memories of this National Monument is standing at the summit of the Lenox Crater listening to the wind whip thru the pine trees and bracing myself against it. It was very moving spiritually.

The same day, I also visited Wupatki National Monument which is only a half hour away. Visiting Walnut Canyon National Monument, also near Sunset Crater Volcano, is still on my Bucket List.