sunset grater header picture

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SUNSET CRATER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Sunset Crater National Park features a different type of crater.  Meteor Crater was once theorized to be of volcanic origin but Sunset Crater truly is of volcanic origin.

The Sunset Crater National Monument rises over 8,000'. 

The park is located just North of Flagstaff.  Entry fees for the park were just $5.00 each and allowed us to visit all the sights in the park.  We were not allowed to hike up Sunset Crater though.  This was disappointing despite the fact that I had nothing to sacrifice to the volcano.

 

 

 

sunset crater volcano national monument

Volcano squeeze-up in the snow at Sunset Crater.

Yikes, next time I take a close-up snow picture, remind me to tinker with my exposure setting.

This was a fascinating volcanic formation.  It's called a "Squeeze Up" and you can read about it below.  Just behind me (while taking this photo) is a small leveled off area of the Bonita lava flow.  We took the opportunity to play Frisbee on the flattened lava flow. 

The path winds around and through the lava field giving you some up-close and personal views.

volcanic land forms - squeeze up

Volcanic Squeeze-Up

An explanation of the picture above.

 

 

 

 

 

squeeze up sign, explanation

Sunset crater in a cold winter's snow.

This is a picture of Sunset Crater.  Hikers are no longer allowed to hike the crater.
 

Lenox Crater

However, you are allowed to hike a smaller trail to the top of Lenox Crater. It is a moderate 1/2 mile hike to the top.  We hiked up Lenox Crater prior to this picture.  There was over 2' of snow.  Do you see all the frozen snow on my sweater?  That came from a failed attempt at body surfing the side of Lenox Crater.

sunset crater in the background

Painted Desert, Arizona

Do you see the distant horizon where it looks like the sun is shining through a colorful layer of clouds?  As we were driving through the park, it took me a long time to realize the sun was actually shining on the Painted Desert.

 

 

 

the painted desert

Sun shines on the Painted Desert.

As we drove closer, it became apparent that
we actually saw land and not clouds.

Between where I stood to take the photo and the
Painted Dessert there are several ancient Pueblo villages.  At one village, in particular, you are encouraged to stop the car and hike to the top of the village.

 

 

the painted desert sun and clouds

NEXT:  Grand Canyon

    

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