Flagstaff Vacations, Hotels & Lodging

Sunset Crater National Monument

Just Northeast of Flagstaff Arizona

The Sunset Crater was at one time an active volcano that erupted in 1064AD delivering thick layers of lava, volcanic cinders and ash across the area. The Sinagua Indians had settled this area in about 675AD with groups of low-density communities. The Sinaguans were peaceful agricultural people that not only networked within their own villages but also with other native tribes throughout what is known today as Arizona.

There was a period of intense seismic activity within the volcano before its 1064 eruption that gave the Sinagua people ample time to collect possessions and flee the area. They established new villages in the Walnut Canyon and pueblo villages at Wupatki and others within the Wupatki National Monument about 15 miles north of Sunset Crater.

The Sinaguans mysteriously disappeared from their new pueblo village sites about 1250, but it's coincidental that the Sunset Crater Volcano remained intermittently active until it delivered its final spew at about the same time as the Sinagua People disappeared from the area.

The name "Sinagua" is of Spanish derivation meaning "without water". They are believed to be the ancient ancestors of today's Hopi and Navajo Indian Tribes.

The Sunset Crater has cooled and been inactive since that last explosion in 1250. Today Sunset Crater is a popular Flagstaff attraction where thousands and thousands of annual visitors are intrigued by the opportunity to see nature's recovery after a volcanic eruption.

There are four primary trails within Sunset Crater National Monument that will give you great views and an experience of walking where the Sinagua Indians once lived. Pets are not permitted on the trails, in the backcountry or any visitor center buildings.

O'Leary Peak Trail O'Leary Peak Trail
O'Leary Peak is a lava dome volcano whereas Sunset Crater is a cinder cone volcano. Looking down from O'Leary is the only way to look down into Sunset Crater since traffic on the crater is not allowed.

Cinder Hills Overlook Cinder Hills Overlook
Drive-up to the overlook of great views of Sunset Crater.

Lenox Crater Trail Lenox Crater Trail
From the top of Lenox Crater Trail you can see the San Francisco Peaks, the Sunset Crater and it's lava flow.

Lava Flow Trail Lava Flow Trail
Lava Flow Trail is a self-guided loop trail with a furnished trail guide.

Map From Flagstaff, AZ to Sunset Crater

Sunset Crater National Park Map

Flagstaff Area Map

Photos compliments of ©National Park Service

This page was last modified on 21 December 2011 at 10:32
Silver Spur & Little America Flagstaff Grand Canyon Tour & Hotel Package
An intimate journey through the astounding beauty of Sedona, Arizona (AZ)
Flagstaff Arizona. Hotels, Attractions, Things To Do.