|Guide||♦||1 Triplog||0 Topics|
If cinders are your thing
Peak 6833 is a small cinder cone within the Cinder Hills just east of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. It's a short, easily accessible jaunt with decent views at the top. I did it as a sunrise hike to shoot Sunset Crater and Humphreys Peak photos in the early morning alpenglow. If you're passing through the area and want to do more cinder cone hiking than what is offered within the Sunset Crater park boundary, give this one a shot.
At the small parking pull-off on FR 244 at its intersection with the Sunset Crater - Wupatki Loop Road, cross the paved loop road and head north. There isn't a real trail to speak of, but this area seems to get OHV use, so you are bound to come across their tracks at some point. The small cinder hill to the north is the goal, with the summit being on the western end of the hill. The cinders limit vegetation growth to a reasonable level; bushwhacking should not even come into play. The nice mix of ponderosa pine with a pinyon here or a juniper there and a good dose of rabbitbrush makes for a nice bit of forest. Climbing the cinders may present more of a problem. Fortunately for me, my excursion up here was on a February morning with a low of 14 degrees. Yes, it was cold, but the cinders were frozen together and made climbing much more pleasant. If you come under more pleasant above-freezing conditions, you will likely encounter the two steps forward, one step back routine common with cinder cone hiking.
If you want to minimize your effort, you could try following the curving ridgeline of the cinder cone. The GPS route I am posting for this hike represents climbing the steep side rather than the more gradual ridge walk. At the summit, vegetation is sparse, and the views are open. Sunset Crater dominates the western skyline, with Humphreys peaking/peeking around to the right of Sunset. The Cinder Hills surround in all directions, with the Painted Desert visible far to the east. For the effort, it's quite a nice little area to check out if you have a spare hour to use out in the cinders.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.