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Lava Flow Trail (Bonito), AZ

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Guide 29 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NE
3.3 of 5 by 12
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 6,966 feet
Elevation Gain 50 feet
Accumulated Gain 50 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 Hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.25
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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5  2017-09-23 NatureNerd6
4  2017-04-26 chumley
3  2017-04-08 benbacome
6  2016-12-30
Lenox Crater
16  2016-05-28 cw50must
16  2015-10-03 KarMann
4  2014-10-15 Crzy4AZ
20  2013-01-13
Sunset Crater Wupatki Loop Road
Page 1,  2
Author hippiepunkpirate
author avatar Guides 25
Routes 36
Photos 2,877
Trips 657 map ( 2,276 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Peoria, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   May, Jul, Aug, Sep → Any
Sun  6:08am - 6:35pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Go With The Flow!
by hippiepunkpirate

Likely In-Season!
The Lava Flow Trail is a 1 mile interpretive loop that accesses the Bonito Lava Flow in Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. .3 miles of the loop is paved for wheelchair access. There are plaques featuring pictures, diagrams and descriptions located throughout the paved section. Throughout the entire loop are posts with numbers that can be utilized in conjunction with pamphlets for a self-guided tour. The pamphlets are available at the trailhead. Ranger-guided tours are also available, with the times posted at the trailhead and on the NPS website. I did this trail as a field trip for a 100 level Geology class at NAU, so I had a grad student as my guide. Without her I would have missed some really cool features, so I would recommend the either of the tour options.

The trail itself is relatively flat with a couple very small hills. The terrain is rough, which translates to a slightly rocky trail. The Bonito Lava Flow is a basaltic flow of the "aa" variety, which means the lava is sharp and jagged. Somehow a variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers have planted their roots in this seemingly hostile landscape. The flow features many recent volcanic formations, such as lava tubes, hornitos, fissures and squeeze-ups plus views of Sunset Crater itself and the Inner Basin of the Peaks. For such a short trail, there are plenty of photo opportunities. Being that it is located within a National Monument, don't expect to have the area to yourself, even during the week. All in all, it's a very unique area, and one of those places that will have you saying "This is in Arizona?!"

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2008-09-24 hippiepunkpirate
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Was extrememly windy the day we decided to do this. My youngest was almost being blown sideways at points. Still a fun little hike with lots to see. Being at National Park/Monument the kids once again earned their junior ranger badge. Wish I could have visited this place years ago when the ice cave was open.
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Spent the weekend in Flagstaff. This was a Cinders OHV trip. It had been a while since I had been there and I still enjoy getting up there and driving around all weekend. Camped out there on Sat night off FR 777. The next morning we Headed over to Sunset Crater National Monument. All those previous trips to the cinders I had always seen the volcano from the back, but never made my way around the other side to the NM. This time I made sure I got to visit before heading home.

    We did the short Lava Flow Trail. I was impressed, I really thought the lava flow was cool. Its a nice little trail they got there too taking you around the lava flow, make sure you leave the concrete path. I will also say I came in from the east, we left the cinders via FR224 which is down towards the painted desert overlook. The drive into the NM from there was cool too. I gice this place 2 thumbs up.
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was my second time bringing an overseas visitor here. I spent a lot of time on the pictures, so spent just about two hours on the trail. If you weren't setting up a tripod repeatedly & insistently reading all the signs, it'd likely be much faster, of course.

    It's hard to say which I like more here, the lava flows proper, or the fields of cinders.

    I especially liked the small red flowers poking up from the cinders.
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Beautiful contrast to see the yellow aspen against the black lava field.
    Kids were on the lookout for hot lava anywhere that might not have had time to cool down in the last 900 years :D
    I kept saying that the volcano had "died" - but they did not really believe me. Every few steps "Mommy is that hot lava? Or is it dead?"

    They won't forget this hike anytime soon! Science and nature are super cool when they involve potential bodily harm.
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Sunset Crater Wupatki Loop Road
    we were supposed to be cross-country skiing today, but the weather and our internal thermometers had diffing opinions, so we decided to take a scenic drive instead. this drive included many stops to see lava, snow, and ruins, and i was okay with that. ruins are not my favorite destination on a hike, but this was okay. between scenic destinations, we were kept warm by the heater in the truck. we ended up at the lumberyard brewery where i had mac & cheese with a side of mac & cheese. so good.
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This is one of the coolest places I've ever been. The volcanic landscape is just astounding and otherwordly. Hard to believe the lava was deposited almost a thousand years ago, as it looks practically fresh. Wish we'd had more time to spend, but we arrived late in the day. Made for a spectacular sunset over the San Francisco peaks, though. First time in the Flagstaff area - hope to explore it a lot more in the future.
    Lava Flow Trail (Bonito)
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I love Sunset Crater! You go from pristine pine forest to prehistoric in one turn on the road. Not very crowded in the park on this day. The overcast skies made for some difficult photography, but wonderful temps! I remember being able to climb to the top of the crater when I was a kid, too bad there's no way now.

    Permit $$
    National Monument Fee $10-25 per 7 Days

    Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
    $5 each - valid for 7 days Entrance Fees

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take US89 north out of Flagstaff. At about 11.5 miles past the Flagstaff Mall turn right at the turnoff signed "Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument". Pay the fee at the booth and the trailhead will be ahead on your right (it's signed).
    page created by hippiepunkpirate on Sep 24 2008 9:28 pm
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