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SP Crater Hike - 10 members in 16 triplogs have rated this an average 3.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
16 triplogs
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May 07 2016
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 Routes 1
 Photos 2,050
 Triplogs 425

43 male
 Joined Sep 16 2011
 Phoenix
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar May 07 2016
VolcanoCLMBRTriplogs 425
Hiking2.10 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking2.10 Miles   1 Hour   25 Mns   1.48 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After my original plan failed to materialize i decided to head over to SP crater and cross another bucket list item off the list. The weather in the area was fantastic with just a light breeze. I left the Xterra at the base of the crater and started making my way up....along the way i was greeted by a Hopi rattlesnake hiding under a rock, took a couple photos and continued my ascent. The view from this point was just fantastic, like almost walking back in time. The lava flow added to the mystic feeling of this place. I went around the rim being fascinated by the geology of this ancient volcanic cone. After about 30 minutes i had made my way around SP and headed back down thinking i have to come back and xplore more of these volcanic craters.
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1 archive
Feb 04 2016
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 Guides 64
 Routes 68
 Photos 8,882
 Triplogs 2,007

43 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 04 2016
Jim_HTriplogs 2,007
Hiking2.00 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles      55 Mns   2.18 mph
500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Easiest way to log this, as I did not actually summit SP, but was literally next to it, and the views are similar. With a -4 morning and a cold start, I had no intentions of Elden, so off on a scenic drive I went, and by late morning I was out in the grass north of the Peaks. I wound up headed right for SP, finding it easier to get to than expected. I parked about where the hike starts, but slightly up road, and went towards it, but didn't feel like fighting sliding cinders, so went up the adjacent grassy knoll. Nice views.

Really nice and quiet out here. Stopping for a moment while hiking down, I heard the sound of rolling rocks, and looked over to see about 10 mule deer running on the side of SP. Cold, only 32, but sunny with no wind, so not bad. Nice to explore in June, perhaps, which is the earliest I see myself coming back to northern AZ.
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Oct 01 2015
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 Guides 103
 Routes 263
 Photos 9,807
 Triplogs 769

60 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 01 2015
kingsnakeTriplogs 769
Hiking2.49 Miles 929 AEG
Hiking2.49 Miles   2 Hrs   5 Mns   1.20 mph
929 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Drove up to Flagstaff today, in preparation for tomorrow's hike to Cedar Mountain. Figured we would get there early, so lined this up as a relatively quick hike to fill late morning, plus train a bit for a similar elevation profile at Cedar Mountain.

The last time we drove up US 89 was September, 2013. While I normally have very good visual memory, I had forgotten how beautiful the plains north of Flagstaff are. :o

SP Crater Rd. is currently car drivable, but it isn't graded, so you can't go as fast as on, say, Klondyke Rd. Also, watch out for cattle, particularly around the full Eightynine Tank, just west of the highway. The official hike route starts on SP Crater Rd. at Black Tank, but it is no problem driving a half mile down the jeep trail. There is a small clearing in the grass, by a juniper (?) that is a good place to park. (See my route: [ gps route ] ). Going any further, up the ridge, on the jeep trail, is 4wd, high clearance, and skill. The cinders on the jeep trail are as slippery as those on the hill, with the added difficulty of resting above a hard surface. :stop:

The jeep trail is also quite steep. :sweat: I tried to follow use trails up the side of the crater, but found that the best footing was affording by using the little scrub plants as ladder rungs. Being that the scrub has to live in such desolate ground, they are firmly planted, and thus provide solid footing. Still, it was slow going.

I climbed through a crack to gain the summit, then hiked counter-clockwise around the rim. The inner crater slopes off slightly, for about 100 feet down, then gets very steep, before reaching a vertical cliff, then steep shale to the middle. I had considered the possibility of a downclimb, but on viewing the difficulties, said no fricking way. [-( It could be done, but I wouldn't do it without ropes and climbing gear. The west, southwest, and south rim is fairly easy travelling, but the remainder of the rim is slow, rocky going. I did find a small area on the south rim that looked like it had been cleared for camping. It would be an awesome spot. Unfortunately, I forgot to mark it. :|

I had thought to take off with a bottle of water, but was glad I brought my full water load. I didn't use it all, or nearly all, but was glad I had it as there is no shade, other than the few slope bushes I used for ad hoc waypoints.

The wind was very heavy, especially on the northeast rim, above the lava flow. I almost got knocked off my feet -- which is not good when the footing has so much ankle break potential. But as heavy as the wind was, it was nothing compared to what I would experience the next day on Cedar Mountain. :o

I started down the way I had up, using the scrub for sure footing, but soon determined that it was both easier and faster to side-slide, kind of like skiing.

-----

Returned to Flagstaff, we checked in at The Inn at 410 (nice B&B), on Leroux, then went for a wander around downtown. I had a few beers at a "Irish" bar, where the wind was so heavy it blew my glasses off the table. We ended up eating at Na-D-Li, an excellent Korean place on San Francisco St. Kimchi Jjigae (spicy pork stew) is not typical hiking fodder, but I love it. :D

-----

Drive Video: https://youtu.be/gm ... er6c
SP Crater Video: https://youtu.be/Pi ... ILGE
Fauna
Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cow
Culture
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cag Shot HAZ Food
Meteorology
Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Moon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Some mallows, purple flowers with yellow middles, and a few other species.
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
1 archive
Nov 20 2011
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 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 337
 Triplogs 311

38 male
 Joined May 31 2009
 Scottsdale,AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2011
azflyguyTriplogs 311
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   1 Hour      1.60 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Sep 26 2011
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 Routes 292
 Photos 6,851
 Triplogs 546

46 male
 Joined Dec 30 2007
 Avondale,Az
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 26 2011
StoicTriplogs 546
Hiking2.25 Miles 900 AEG
Hiking2.25 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.50 mph
900 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great day for this hike. Not to windy. I hiked a smaller hill close by to watch the sun set.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Gray Mountain
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1 archive
May 28 2011
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 Photos 15
 Triplogs 49

45 male
 Joined Dec 26 2007
 Flagstaff, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar May 28 2011
rmooreTriplogs 49
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.07 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nice crater but is was WINDY! My 3 year old son made it to the top, with a little help from me. Cool hike.
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Mar 20 2011
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 Guides 4
 Photos 2,750
 Triplogs 400

57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2011
cabelTriplogs 400
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   1 Hour      1.60 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This one looks easy but it will kick your pumpkin! One step up and slide back two.
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All who wander are not lost...just me.
1 archive
Nov 06 2010
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 Guides 6
 Routes 6
 Photos 1,503
 Triplogs 173

55 male
 Joined Apr 04 2002
 Flagstaff, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 06 2010
squatpukeTriplogs 173
Hiking2.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking2.60 Miles   2 Hrs      1.30 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
25 years of living and hiking in Flagstaff...my first time on this popular crater. Nice hike, started around 2pm with my 7 year old son. We quickly summited (see below), walked around the perimeter of the cone, had a snack then descended around 4pm. It was a Saturday, saw 3 other vehicles and a few other hikers.

I actually parked on the western side of SP on the saddle of the next cone west (followed a double track road from the north actually circumferences SP). My Toyota 4WD needed "low" to creep up the steep, slippery slope but it probably saved us half the climb.

Nothing much to note..several cairns around the top crater. One LARGE one on the north end, thought it might be grave-site for someone's pet...or someone just got ambitious and stacked a bunch of rocks. Also (like Strawberry Crator) saw a windbreak, but I'll bet it was recently made as well.

Beautiful views from every direction, the lava flow is very impressive.
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Mar 13 2009
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 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

62 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 13 2009
Randal_SchulhauserTriplogs 1,009
Hiking3.27 Miles 898 AEG
Hiking3.27 Miles   3 Hrs      1.09 mph
898 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Stunning perfect volcano with inner crater and an unreal jet-black lava flow stretching miles to the north! Only thing missing were the dinosaurs...

We initially missed the Ranch Road turn-off from Hwy 89 because we were looking for Mile Marker 446. No problem - just pulled into Hank's Trading Post on the west side of the highway and made the "U-eeee"...

The drive along the washboard road was uneventful - reminded me a bit of the roads to Grand Falls. Plenty of cows with their new calves along the way...

Parked the truck near the double-track turn-off from the ranch road and began the hike from there. Not because it wasn't drivable, only because we wanted the dogs to be able to stretch their legs. Out of the truck poured Lynn, Hannah, and the dogs - Pauli and Skippy, as we started the lung-opening trek up the double-track to the saddle.

Took multiple switch backs up the cinder cone. There's an obvious path at the saddle but it disappears near the cedar trees. From there I continued a switch back path up to the lava boulders and onto the rim.

Views from the rim provide a spectacular vantage. Circled around the rim and surfed down the cinders in record time to the saddle and back to the truck as our shadows started to grow long..

Yes - the only thing missing were the dinosaurs. Great set location for Jurassic Park IV - SP Crater Adventures...
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Basalt
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2 archives
Mar 16 2007
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 Guides 4
 Routes 194
 Photos 7,962
 Triplogs 451

69 male
 Joined Apr 06 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2007
HansenazTriplogs 451
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.07 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Based on the good HAZ recommendation we planned an afternoon visit to SP Mtn. Very enjoyable!

About 15mi north of Flagstaff you leave the highway, enter Babbitt Ranch and head west. Though there are several branches, avoid the cattle and keep toward the obvious cinder cone. The main branch passes south of the hill and on the far side (west) you see the obvious saddle which most cars can reach - the 'trail' starts there.

Nice views all around: the San Francisco Peaks, the local volcanic field, and the old lava flow heading north. One source says this flow occurred 71000 yrs ago. It was fun to walk all around the perimeter on top and then to run down the loose cinders back to the car.
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Sep 17 2005
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 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 101
 Triplogs 100

male
 Joined Feb 24 2003
 Los Angeles
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2005
kiluamTriplogs 100
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   2 Hrs      0.80 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Volcano
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cut me some slack jack
May 18 2005
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 Photos 27
 Triplogs 17

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2003
 Phoenix, AZ
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar May 18 2005
madfishTriplogs 17
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   3 Hrs      0.53 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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.
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Mar 27 2005
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 Triplogs 34

male
 Joined Mar 27 2007
 flagstaff, az
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2005
mgermansenTriplogs 34
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Sep 18 2004
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 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 101
 Triplogs 100

male
 Joined Feb 24 2003
 Los Angeles
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 18 2004
kiluamTriplogs 100
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   0.64 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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cut me some slack jack
Sep 20 2003
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 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 101
 Triplogs 100

male
 Joined Feb 24 2003
 Los Angeles
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 20 2003
kiluamTriplogs 100
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   1 Hour   10 Mns   1.37 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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cut me some slack jack
Oct 19 2001
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 Guides 172
 Routes 229
 Photos 6,096
 Triplogs 1,129

41 male
 Joined Apr 03 2006
 Pocatello, ID
SP Crater HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2001
PaleoRobTriplogs 1,129
Hiking1.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.07 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Geology field trip in 2001. Got to see the sunset from the rim, and made camp a few miles down the road. The interior crater is pretty menacing looking.
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Cross-bedding
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] SP Crater
_____________________
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon
average hiking speed 1.23 mph

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.

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