Sunset Crater Volcano
Today, the volcano's rim of red cinders and the lava flows near the cone seem to have cooled and hardened to a jagged surface only yesterday. Squeeze-ups and hornitos are just two of the fascinating volcanic features you'll encounter while exploring the park.
Sunset Crater Volcano is often confused with another nearby attraction, Meteor Crater. At Sunset Crater Volcano you will see a cinder cone rising 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. Meteor Crater, located 35 miles east of Flagstaff on I-40, is an impact crater measuring over 500 feet deep and 1 mile across.
Rates & Fees
Entrance Fee: Individual
$5.00 - 7 Days
Fee is per person, good for 7 days at both Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments. Free entrance for children under 15. Major credit cards are accepted for all fees.
We honor and issue America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes including the Annual Pass, Senior Pass and Access Pass.
Vehicle Capacity 1-6 (Sedan) $28 - Day
Vehicle Capacity 7-25 (Van) $40 - Day
Vehicle Capacity 26 or more (Bus) $100 - Day
Commercial fees are charged according to vehicle carrying capacity - not number of persons on board.
Commercial fees paid at Sunset Crater Volcano will be honored for same-day entry to Wupatki and Walnut Canyon National Monuments. Commercial fee is valid for one day only.
Seasons / Hours
- The park is open year round. The Visitor Center is open daily (except Christmas Day). The trails are open dawn-to-dusk.
Note: Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time year-round.
Summer Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm MST with extended hours possible during the summer season.
Winter Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. MST
The Visitor Center has has many exhibits and books and other materials for sale. Exhibits at the Sunset Crater Visitor Center discuss volcanoes and earthquakes, with a short film and working seismograph.
Programs & Events
Generally offered June, July, and August but are subject to change. Ask, as other programs may be scheduled.
Lava Walk: Daily, 45 minutes; check Visitor Center for times. Investigate cinder cones, squeeze- ups, and more! Meet at the contact station at the Lava Flow Trail parking area.
Evening Program: 1-hour campfire talk at Bonito Campground Amphitheater. Check Visitor Center for time and topic.
There is no food or supplies within the Monument. Picnic areas and vending machines only. No other services. Overnight accommodations, food, supplies and gasoline are available in Flagstaff,14 miles west. Flagstaff Visitor Center: 1-800-842-7293.
Accessible restrooms are located at the Lava Flow Nature Trail. The Visitor Center and portions of the Lava Flow Trail are accessible.
Self-guided Lava Flow Trail is a one-mile loop through the Bonito Lava Flow at the base of Sunset Crater. An inexpensive booklet that accompanies the signs along the trail is available at the Visitor Center. Hiking on the volcano cinder cone itself has been prohibited since 1973.
View a QuickTime VR of SUNSET CRATER
There are hotels and motels in Flagstaff about 15 miles from the crater, with something for every taste and price range. For more information and a complete list. Click Here. (Rates, availability and reservation online)
- The U.S. Forest Service operates the 43-site Bonito Campground, located across from the Monument Visitor Center. It is usually open from late May through mid-October. Maximum vehicle size is 35 feet, no hookups. It provides running water and restrooms, no showers. Sites are on a first-come-first-served basis. For further information call the USFS AT 928-526-0866.
- Backcountry camping is prohibited
Precautions, Rules, Regulations
It is the visitor's responsibility to know and obey park rules. Regulations are designed for visitors' protection and to protect natural resources.
- All vehicles, including bicycles, must remain on designated roadways. Always use designated parking areas; never stop in the roadway.
- Observe posted speed limits - park roads are not designed for speed. Enjoy the scenery safely. Slow down at dawn and dusk and watch for animals.
- Buckle up. Seat belts are required by law.
- Do not feed wildlife. Avoid contact with rodents. The white-footed deer mouse is a carrier of hantavirus and prairie dogs can carry plague.
- Poisonous snakes and insects are common but not aggressive. Keep a safe distance. This is their home and they are protected.
- All natural resources, animals, plants, and rocks are protected. Look, but do not take.
- Pets are not allowed in buildings, on trails, or tied to fixed objects. They may be exercised in parking areas on a leash. Summer temperatures may be fatal to pets in closed vehicles.
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