Arizona really does have the market cornered on giant holes in the ground. Between the Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon and now Meteor Crater Natural Landmark. I would say that of the three that I saw on the Great Southwestern Road Trip, the Crater is by far the most educational.
Just past Winslow, Arizona you start to see some signs for the Meteor Crater park. The crater is pretty much in the middle of the desert in Northern Arizona. 50,000 years ago a giant meteor burned across the desert sky and decided to park itself here.
The crater is big. I don’t know if the pictures really do it justice. The crater is roughly 700 feet deep and over 4000 feet across. It is also nearly 2.5 miles around at the rim. For a frame of reference. If you look at the above picture compared to these zoomed in pictures of the crater floor.
As you can tell this is a very deep hole. It is also very big. You could line up 20 football fields and play 20 games simultaneously on the bottom.
The science of the crater is beyond my comprehension but I love to learn about things like this. The museum on site is really cool and has a bunch of great information about this meteor impact and several other meteor craters in the area. They also have instructional videos and some samples of the rock that was unearthed during the crash.
There are guided tours as well that take you around the rim and explain even more. I missed the tour and didn’t have time to wait for the next so I decided to check it out on my own and still thought it was pretty cool.
One thing to keep in mind is that the crater is completely exposed. In the summer there is no shade so you will need sun screen and maybe a hat for sun protection. In the spring when I went it was extremely windy. I checked with one of the workers and they said that the wind is pretty consistent all spring long. Here is a video I tried to shoot but the wind got to be a little too much.
Meteor Crater National Landmark is off of exit 233 on US 40. The exit has a gas station and the road to the crater and that is about it. If you are looking for some food, you might want to check the Blasted Bistro at the visitor center. There is a fee to see the crater. $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and $13 for kids ages 6-12. A national parks pass is not accepted at this landmark.
Wrapping up Meteor Crater Natural Landmark
The Meteor Crater is a very cool spot. I really enjoyed the little museum that they had set up to show all the science behind what caused the crater. The giant hole in the ground is cool to see but once you see it, you have seen it. They do have some cool binocular stands set up so you can see some of the geological features that are around.
While I am very glad that I made this stop, I am glad that it was just a stop and I didn’t plan a whole trip around it. I think I was there for maybe 45, including lunch, and that was about all I needed. Again, a very cool spot with cool info that is good for a stop between two points.
I have added the Meteor Crater National Landmark to my interactive map that you can find here. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me at any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!