I recently mentioned we spent time in Flagstaff. It is a beautiful town with plenty to see and do. We had a blast at the Lowell Observatory, and Flagstaff has even more to do than learn about space and look through really cool telescopes. Those beautiful mountains around Flagstaff – yep, they’re volcanoes. We took a hike to get a better look at one the remains of one of them, Crater Monument.
The trails to hike the actual crater were closed almost 40 years ago because of the erosion hikers inadvertently caused. The Lava Flow Trial that you can hike is about one mile and rated easy to moderate in difficulty. There is a quarter mile of the trail that is paved and accessible to everyone. The rest of the trail is gravelly and steep in some places. Strollers and wheelchairs would probably have some difficulty with this part of the trail.
Be sure to pick up a map before you start your hike so you can enjoy the self-guided tour. I learned a ton from that little map! I learned how the cinder cone was created, along with lava tubes and spatter cones. If a trip to Flagstaff isn’t in your near future, try out the virtual tour.
One of the signs on the trail talked about the limited damage volcanoes caused. Apparently their definition of damage is different than mine! I guess the damage a volcano causes is relatively small compared to the trouble the Earth will have when the lava cools and becomes a dead planet. So lava spitting volcanoes are a good thing – they mean our planet is alive!
Next time you are in Flagstaff, be sure to bring your hiking boots and enjoy an interactive tour of Crater Monument.
Check out these other local points of interest: