Have you ever been to one of those places that just felt timeless? A place where the past seemed so close  to the present that you could almost hear the echoes of it reaching across time and blurring with the here and now.

Visiting Sunset Crater was a surreal experience. Despite the occasional group of fanny pack wearing tourists, it was very easy to get lost in the magic of the volcano. It was all  block  rock and twisted tree roots and plants I had never seen before.

Objectively—it wasn’t my favorite National Park Service Site.  It was a smaller site and the trails were relatively limited. The informative signage was only so-so and rather sparsely scattered throughout the area.

However, despite a few shortcomings, it’s definitely worth a visit. Between the sheer magic of the place, and the nearby sites to visit (the Wupatki ruins are a hop skip and a jump away as is Sedona), it’s definitely worth stopping by for a morning hike.

I will be definitely making a return visit the next time I’m Arizona.  A sunrise or sunset visit to the crater has been added to my travel bucket list.

Photos from the hike:

My first view of the volcano. Apparently you used to be able to hike to the top, but alas they shut that down to better preserve the delicate ecosystem.


The volcanic rock made a nice backdrop for some of the other the splashes of colors throughout the crater.

Green lichen on the rocks.


Red grass against the black volcanic dust. I’m sure there’s a fancy name for this grass, but I couldn’t find what it was so it shall just be refereed to as “red grass” . It was actually more like scattered red plants technically.



I love trees, so I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this awesome petrified tree near the start of the trail.




The view driving up to the crater was beautiful. On the way out of the park I stopped to snap this photo. Then I promptly knelt in an anthill to snap this photos and was gifted with multiple , physical reminders of my trip to the crater.



One last glance and we were on our way