On our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico as we head out of Kingman, Arizona on our second day of our Southwest road trip, my husband planned a surprise quick stop at Meteor Crater that had me extra delighted. I did’t even realize where we were until my husband mentioned a meteor! I was geeking out to say the least!
About 50,000 years ago, an asteroid travelling 26,000 miles per hour, collided with our planet Earth. That massive impact left a crater measuring nearly a mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. Although discovered in 1891, the debates surrounding the origin of the crater in its initial discovery was only put to rest when in 1960, presence of coesite and stishovite were found around the pit, which are rare forms of silica formed by severe shock or a massive impact. That discovery thereby confirmed that the crater was formed by a meteor impact, and not from a volcanic explosion as was previously thought.
The entrance to Meteor Crater is NOT free. However, it is worth every penny. While the crater has lost some meters of its original rim due to the natural process of erosion, Meteor Crater is still considered to be the most preserved meteor crater in the world owing it to the dry Arizona climate. There are guided 15-minute rim tours available for those who are interested. But I was feeling cold, and my husband and I were simply contented to experience Meteor Crater on their self-guided observation decks placed strategically on the rim of the crater, just at the back of the visitor center. There were interpretative signs and observation telescopes for a closer look. At the base of the crater is an old mine shaft with leftover artifacts from exploration of minerals because it was initially thought that the meteor would have left chunks of precious metals and minerals waiting to be mined. From what I remember, the mining was futile.
The full extent of the impact of the meteor crater is when you realize that four Statue of Liberty can be stacked on top of each other in this crater, twenty football fields could be put on its floor and more than 2 million fans could watch games from the crater walls.
Meteor Crater is also called the Barringer Meteorite Crater, Coon Butte, Arizona Meteor Crater, or interestingly, the Canyon Diablo. Meteor Crater is located off I-40 at exit 233, Meteor Crater Road, then 6 miles south on the paved road. 35 miles east of Flagstaff, 20 miles west of Winslow, in Arizona
TRAVERSING ROUTE 66
Another thing that has made this trip extra memorable is the idea that during most of this trip, we have been paralleling and sometimes, actually traversing on the Historic ROUTE 66! The nostalgia of Route of 66 is reflected in a lot of hotels, restaurants and scenic stops in the area. I am not going to lie, the Disney Pixar movie, Cars, was in my thoughts almost the entire time. And just like in the movie, Route 66 was never the same and was and is struggling to survive after the Interstate Highway System was introduced.
Lessons learned from Meteor Crater and the Historic Route 66: TIME, CONTINUITY, and CHANGE.
How cool! I’ve never seen it in person. I was thinking a trip all over the United States is in order! One day I will go! Thanks for sharing your adventures. Koko :)
I hope you get to visit this beautiful country soon! And try to include the American Southwest in your itinerary. You will not regret it at all ;)
Very cool, following
Thank you! :)
Wow! This looks fabulous! I’m now so disappointed I didn’t make this stop when I was driving from Flagstaff to Holbrook. I actually pulled off I-40, but when I saw it was 6 miles, I turned around. I had already spent so much time driving around Flagstaff exploring old Route 66 icons, and had plans to stop in Winslow and go to the Petrified Forest NP before spending the night in Holbrook, and I didn’t know if it was worth it. I’m glad I got to see it on your blog. Thanks for following. I look forward to reading more! 😊
I am sorry to hear that you didn’t get to see Meteor Crater, but I am glad I can share it with you through my blog. I barely remember any advertisements on the road about Meteor Crater at all. One day, I would really like to see more of Route 66. I think that will be an interesting trip.
Wow, that’s amazing. The American Southwest is such a bizarre place! No wonder people have imagined seeing aliens there. It makes me think of meteorite Pokémon like Minior, Lunatone and Solrock, who fall to the earth from outer space.
I definitely want to take my girlfriend on a surprise trip like this, one day!
I agree, the Southwest is an amazing, bizarre and beautiful place! While standing on the rim of the crater, one cannot help but wonder about aliens, or nukes, or in my case, Armageddon-like movies. Yikes! I hope you get to bring your girlfriend here, and see Meteor Crater and the rest of Southwest. I didn’t realize how beautiful this part of the world is until I saw it with my own eyes.
I visited the crater years ago, but unfortunately, it was freezing cold at the time, and I didn’t get a good look. Your post and photos are a great reminder of what a unique sight the crater is; very cool and geologically important – just ask the dinosaurs ;) . ~James
I perfectly understand because I was freezing a lot too. An overcast in early spring also didn’t help. Someone surely didn’t have a great day when the meteor hit! Haha
What a cool site! Sorry I missed this
Thank you! I am sorry you missed Meteor Crater. This site is truly impressive. I hope you get the chance to visit one day and enjoy an unforgettable experience.
That is my next stop in Arizona after the 2018 Overland Expo in Flagstaff. Great blog post with beautiful descriptive photos. Again great blog post. Keep up the journey. :-)
Thank you, Sir. I hope you get to visit Meteor Crater. It is a site I highly recommend. If you are visiting Flagstaff in the near future, Lowell Observatory is a must-see in my opinion. Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater also won’t disappoint.
Great post! I loved seeing the Meteor Crater when i was there last September, pretty cool!
Thank you! I am so happy you got to see it! Was it crowded in summer? We were there in early spring and it wasn’t as crowded as I expected.
No not at all, it was very quiet and easy to see everything, we expected it to be busier too.
You had quite the trip. We moved from Casa Grande, AZ 3 1/2 years ago to NE Ohio. I miss the sunshine but love the green here. Arizona is such a diverse state, I hope you saw much of it! <3
Arizona is an amazing place. I never expected to have fallen in love over a dry desert but the Southwest managed to do that. We used to live in North Carolina and once in a while my husband would miss the greenery and we just drive an hour from Sacramento to see some green landscape. :)
Oh my gosh – that’s exactly what I said about the desert also!!! I loved how the buttes and mountains changed colors daily and the sunsets were amazing!
You write so well, I was going to see if you worked for a travel magazine. If not, you should freelance! Blessings for more safe travels – were we meet the nicest people, :)
Wow, thank you sincerely! I don’t work for a travel magazine, but I love to keep memories of our travels. They are my treasures. Blessings for more safe travels for you too! May we all find a home in every places we visit. :)
<3 . . . 49 States, 39 countries, 20 new homes hubby and I have lived in – guess we've got a pretty good start. :) amidst it all, it's people who always make the place a home, right? So happy our ultimate home is Heaven!
This is a place I’ve always wanted to visit since childhood and have not yet made it to. I better add it to our list. Thanks for the post!
You will not regret. It is worth the drive and every penny. :)
Your post and photos are great! Reminds me of a few craters and crater lakes I saw in Iceland which came into existence due to high volcanic activity in the area. Each one looked more stupendous than than the other! Craters is truly a unique sight, since one doesn’t get to see them everywhere. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! I would love to see those craters and lakes in Iceland that you mentioned. There was a scene in the show Vikings, I believe it is one of the famous waterfalls in Iceland, and I am in love with it.
I have not followed Vikings so far, but for sure every single waterfall in Iceland is to die for! I long to go back again :) Good luck with your journey and travels!
Is this the meteor impact that set off the extinction of the dinosaurs? Imagine if this happened now. There would really be instant climate change and we’d be extinct like the dinos. :)