Old Caves Crater Trail


One has 360-degree views from the top of Old Caves Crater.

From the trailhead, Old Caves Crater Trail takes you through volcanic cinder fields and Ponderosa Pines to the base of an extinct cinder cone volcano. As you climb Old Caves Crater the vegetation changes to a mix of mostly pinion and juniper trees with a few ponderosas.

The trail heads towards the base of the cinder cone, then travels up the side where you'll encounter switchbacks before it turns towards the interior of the crater and up to the rim. At the top of the rim, the trail splits. Head off to the right to go to the "old caves" and off to the left to go to the summit. From there, the trail goes down the other side of the crater rim and comes back out near the trail system in the flats where you can get back to the trailhead.

There is another trail (Crater Loop Trail) which loops completely around the base of the volcano, then through a tree covered cinder field and on back to the trailhead.

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Flagstaff, AZ
Operated By: Flagstaff Ranger District - 928-526-0866

General Information


Location: 3.5 miles northeast of the Flagstaff Mall off U.S. 89.

GPS (Map): 35°16'13.1"N 111°32'08.9"W

USGS Map: Sunset Crater West

Access: Drive 3 miles north on U.S. 89 from the Flagstaff Ranger Station (across from Flagstaff Mall) to Silver Saddle Road. Turn right (east) on Silver Saddle Rd and drive 0.5 miles to the trailhead on the left side of the road.

Click map thumbnail for a larger view.

Old Caves Crater Trail Map Detail Old Caves Crater Trail Map


General Notes:

Rating: Moderate

Hiking time: 2-3 hours round-trip


  • It is illegal to disturb archaeological sties or remove archaeological artifacts.
  • Motorized use of this trail system and surrounding area is prohibited.

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  Area/Length : 
1.3 Miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
6675 - 7183


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