Strawberry Crater Wilderness
A volcanic cinder cone and lava flow form the centerpiece of this 10,141 acre wilderness. Though the area last erupted around the time that knighthood was about to flower in Europe, the volcanic features you'll see here look as if they had happened much more recently. Molten rock frozen in time still shows scrape marks left as it squeezed up through cracks in the cooler surface. Petrified bubbles of once boiling stone look as fresh as the sparse vegetation that struggles for a foothold on this rugged moonscape.
Plentiful ruins scattered across this inhospitable landscape prove the resourcefulness of an ancient people who lived here even as the land still fumed and spouted. In places you can also see remnants of the gardens they cultivated using volcanic cinders as a water-retaining mulch. On the horizon, the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater, and the Painted Desert add another dimension to the view.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||Access via FR546 damaged by flooding in summer 2022. High clearance recommended.|
|Closest Towns:||Flagstaff, AZ|
|Operated By:||Flagstaff Ranger District - 928-526-0866|
General InformationGeneral Notes:
Attractions: Wilderness solitude, Hiking, volcanoes and lava flows, Great views, Cultural Resources
- No mechanized or motorized vehicles, including bicycles, in Wilderness.
- There is no water in this area.
- Winter storms occasionally cover this area with snow.
- Please do not deface ruins or remove artifacts.
- Strawberry Crater Trail - Moderate, 1.1 miles rount-trip. See volcanic features frozen in time, petrified bubbles of once boiling stone, and plentiful ruins from the ancient people who called this land "home" long ago.
- The Wilderness Institute: Strawberry Crater Wilderness
Location: 20 miles north of Flagstaff off paved and dirt roads
GPS (FR 779, Map): 35°26'37.8"N 111°28'40.0"W
USGS Map: Strawberry Crater Quad
Access: Sunset Crater/Wupatki Road (FR 545) borders one side of the Wilderness. Additional access is provided by FR's 546 and 779 off US 89 at the bottom of the north slope to the pass between the San Francisco Peaks and O'Leary Peak.
Accessing this area became more difficult in 2022 following the Pipeline Fire, soil instability, and the heavy erosion that came with the rains following the fire. There are now several small washouts that cross or parallel FR546, and more mud and rocks on FR779. High clearance is recommended.
At certain times of year, four-wheel drive (4WD) may be needed. Bikes or ATVs may be good options for access. Be prepared for road conditions to change after each rainfall. All vehicles, including non-motorized bicycles, must stop at the parking lot and cannot enter the Wilderness area.
Select the map image for a printable version.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information