O'Leary Peak Trail

Area Status: Open

O'Leary Peak is a lava dome volcano, not a cinder cone like Sunset Crater Volcano.

The hike is along a roadbed, which is rough with pot holes, rocks and eroded sections. You may take your pet on this road on a leash. Summer temperatures can be fatal to pets left in vehicles.

View of the San Francisco Peaks from O'Leary lookout tower.

The route up is a blocked off forest service road. Initially, one could drive up to the pass between O'leary and Darton Dome, but the entrance has been pushed back. Now there is about another mile you have to hike to even reach the base of the peak. During this part of the hike, you walk along Sunset Crater's impressive lava flow. It's worth getting off the trail and checking out.

There are a total of 6 switchbacks to the tower, which is not on the Peak. The peak is O'Leary's western summit. To hike it, get off the road between the two summits and hike up until you reach the top. This is the most difficult part of the climb. The tower sits at 8,916, and offers fantastic views. You can see into the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks, into the crater of Sunset Crater and to the north you can see the Painted Desert. The photo above, taken in June, 2009 by Brienne Magee is of the San Francisco Peaks from the lookout tower at O'Leary Peak. Click image for full-size view.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: During the winter, parking area may be inaccessible to vehicles.
Usage: Light
Best Season: April thru November
Closest Towns: Flagstaff, AZ
Operated By: Flagstaff Ranger District - 928-526-0866

General Information

General Notes:

Rating: Strenuous

Hiking time: Allow 4 to 5 hours round-trip

Notes: Be prepared for abrupt weather changes; weather extremes are not uncommon. Although spring is usually mild, heavy snowfall can occur. Summer days are warm with temperatures in the 80s. Expect short afternoon thunderstorms July through September.


Location: Northwest of Sunset Crater

GPS (Map): 35°22'19.9"N 111°32'28.7"W

USGS Map: O'Leary Peak

Access: From Flagstaff take US 89 north. Turn right on the road to Sunset Crater National Park. Just before entering the park, take a left on Forest Road 545A. Drive this road about 1/4 of a mile, which is paved. Park here and hike the rest of the way to the top.

Click map thumbnail for a larger view.

O'Leary Peak Trail Map


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

Horse Riding

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
6956 at the trailhead