Sunset Crater Volcano is the youngest of around 600 volcanic features in the San Francisco Volcanic Field, which is a large volcanic area around the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. The eruption that formed Sunset Crater occurred about 1000 years ago, and also produced two lava flows.

The Bonito Lava Flow is the more accessible of these two flows. Located almost entirely within Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, the Bonito Flow is about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long and consists almost entirely of a'a lava. The Kana'a Lava Flow is east of the monument and partially visible along the Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop Road.

Both of these lava flows, the cinder cone, and much of the rest of the surrounding area are surrounded by ponderosa pine forests and parks. The ponderosa forest of northern Arizona is one of the largest in the world, and it grows here largely because of the volcanic rocks deposited by millennia of volcanic activity within the San Francisco field.

Around the outer edges of the San Francisco Volcanic Field are the high deserts of the Colorado Plateau. To the north and east is the Painted Desert, home to Petrified Forest National Park and Wupatki National Monument. To the south is the Mogollon Rim and the Verde Valley, and to the west are the open range of the Coconino Grasslands and the Eastern Mojave Basin and Range.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument has a visitor center and several trails. The park and trails are open 24/7.

View from above of a black lava flow surrounded by green trees and small hills
View of Bonito Lava Flow and Sunset Crater Volcano (left) from O'Leary Peak trail

NPS / Eileen B.

Last updated: February 20, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

6400 U.S. 89
Flagstaff, AZ 86004


928-526-0502 x0

Contact Us