On Old Rt 66 Near Amboy, CA
This 250-foot-high crater is approximately 6,000 years old and one of the best examples in the Mojave Desert of a volcanic cinder cone. A footpath leads to the top of the cone where you can get a good view of the surrounding area. The hike to the Crater and back can take 2-3 hours. Late January through March are good times to see the wildflowers. Below is photo from the 2005 wildflower season. The area is managed by the BLM. Click Here for Video
Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, Amboy Crater was recognized for its visual and geological significance. Although Amboy Crater is not unique, it is an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone.
The inside of the 250' high crater contains two lava dams behind which has formed small lava lakes. These are now flat in general appearance, covered with light colored clay, creating the impression of miniature "dry lakes." There is a breach on the west side of the crater where basaltic lava poured out over a vast area. Beyond the crater lies 24 square miles of lava flow containing such features as lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones and massive flows of basalt.
As a result of increased visitation to Amboy Crater, the Needles Field Office established a day use site. The entrance road to the parking area has been improved to provide access for all vehicles. ADA accessible shaded and un-shaded picnic tables and restrooms offer a place to relax while exploring the area. As well as shaded crater viewing platform, Interpretative and trail information along with desert safety tips are available on-site. Large groups should park in the group parking area. The Needles Field Office is encouraging educational groups and organizations to contact the office prior to their trip to ensure parking is available.
Also see the Lava Land article for more infomation on area.
For a Book and Map of the area see our
Mojave National Preserve Introductory Package
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Road Trips Videos
Exploring Route 66 - Historic Mohave Desert Sites
Amboy Road at Sheeps Hole Pass looks into the big basin of Bristol Dry Lake, which was covered by the sea about four million years ago. Across the salt lake, Amboy Dry Crater rises in the distance. The town of Amboy dates back to 1858; it became a critical gas and rest stop on Route 66 after World War II. When I-40 bypassed it in 1972, Amboy almost became a ghost town. Follow the DesertUSA team as they revisit old Route 66 in the Mohave and take a look at some historic sites along the way.
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