The National Monument occupies 3,040 acres of land with a peak elevation of 8029 feet. The volcano erupted in A.D. 1064 and then periodically erupted over the next 200 years. The Sinagua Indians undoubtedly witnessed the eruption in 1064-1065, which blanketed the region with black cinder.
The volcano eventually covered over 800 square miles with ash and created the 1,000 foot cinder cone surrounding the volcanoes. The lava flow includes the large Bonito Lava Flow and the nearby Kana-A Lava Flow. Sunset Crater is in the northeast corner of Coconino National Forest.
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. To protect this fragile resource, Sunset Crater Volcano is closed to climbing and hiking. However, other cinder cones in the area may be climbed.
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 (privately owned), located 35 miles east of Flagstaff on I-40, is an impact crater measuring over 500 feet deep and 1 mile across.
- The actual crater measures over 500 feet deep and 1 mile across.
- The crater is located 35 miles east of downtown Flagstaff