After our short glimpse of Wupatki National Monument in Flagstaff, my husband intended us to see Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument which is only about 17 miles south. As mentioned in my previous blog post, the eruption of Sunset Crater was the primary reason attributed to the growth of the Wupatki pueblo’s population when an estimated 2,000 local Sinaguans migrated. It is also the same geological reason for the pueblo’s agricultural productivity. With these reasons, it is but fitting to see this natural might in person. However, it was nearly dusk so we simply drove around Sunset Crater along Highway 395.
The drive as we got closer to the crater was beautiful. The surrounding Sinagua mountains were slightly powdered white with snow. There were few cars sharing the road with us. In between pine trees, we could see a peek of the crater glowing red orange and purple to our left especially with the sun about to set, although the base of this volcano has a dark color because of the dark gray to black basalt. It looked rather small than I imagined. I personally was just happy driving around the crater, seeing it from a distance. There was an eerie feeling passing by the hardened lava flow to our right and from my passenger perspective, I could see where the black hardened lava stopped flowing. Hikes are allowed on this Lava Flow Trail which is a mile long. I am however not sure how I would feel trying that. I suppose we can go back one day to find out.