Fantastic views of the Coconino Plateau and SP Crater lava Field.
Very interesting rocks and geographic features to see.
Had a blast!
May 18th 2005
SP Crater is a fabulous example of a volcanic cone (technically a basaltic andesite cone) in the San Francisco Volcanic Field north of Flagstaff.
The drive is easy and you don't need a 4-wheel drive vehicle unless you want to do some further exploring in this very interesting region.
The directions given by Misubri are perfect. If you have a 4-wheel drive you can drive right up to the starting point. If not, park at the left side base and walk up the tracked road to the ideal starting location on the west side.
The climb is somewhat difficult in that the shingly cinder rocks slide your feet backwards as you climb, but if you walk diagonally you can purchase your grip on the larger rocks and vegetation.
The view from the top is incredible, especially the lava field spanning for 5 miles to the north. The attached aerial photograph was not taken by me but by Wendell Duffield, of the U.S. Geological Survey, and best shows the cone and the whole of the lava field which spans for 5 miles.
There are so many things to see and do whilst hiking around the rim.
There is another crater off to the East, I could not find its name. The Colton crater to the south can be clearly seen and the snow-capped San Francisco peaks at this time of the year are beautiful.
We initially wanted to go to Sunset Crater but they have stopped people climbing to the top now. This crater more than made up for what we didn't see at Sunset.
Coming down was a blast as you can foot ski in the areas on the south side that have very shingly lava rocks, but try and keep in somebody else's tracks so as not to spoil the natural look of the cone.