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Lava Flow Trail Sunset Crater Featured
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Grand Canyon Hikes

Lava Flow Trail (Sunset Crater)

  • 1 miles - Easy Effort
  • 30 Minutes (Total)
  • Expect to See Some Other Hikers
  • 70 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 6,990 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

The Lava Flow Trail at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is short hike but packs a lot in. You'll hike through dramatic terrain formed by a volcanic eruption. The hike is worth a side trip to explore and stretch your legs.

In this Guide:
  • Video of the Trail
  • What to Expect
  • Insider Tips

Where is the Lava Flow Trail?

Lava Flow Trail Sunset Crater Map2
The Lava Flow Trail is only 30 minutes from central Flagstaff, AZ. It's also 1.5 hours from Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim.

Use this trailhead address:
Lava Flow Trail, Loop Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Lava Flow Trail Directions 1
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, created in 1930, has an interesting history. It was designed to protect this area after a film company wanted to dynamite the volcano's site for a film. The visitor center is worth a stop to understand more about this unique spot.

You need to pay an entrance fee for Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, or just use a Parks Pass which gets you into all parks and National Monuments.

Lava Flow Trail Directions 2
There's a large parking area with a toilet.

Gear Recommendations

You don't need any special gear to do the Lava Flow Trail, but having trail runners will be helpful on the lava rocks. In the winter, the trail can be covered in snow.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can also send non-emergency texts to just say that you're late, let friends and family follow along, and check the weather. You can see my review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The wide toe box means no blisters, an aggressive tread is great on the trail, it dries very quickly, and it has lots of cushion for long days. It combines everything I love about every other shoe into one.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProThese watches are pricey, but I use them 24/7 for sleep tracking, workouts, heart rate, and tracking my hike. It has preloaded hiking maps that help me navigate the trails and is a backup to my smartphone navigation. The Epix Pro has a great battery life, a screen similar to an Apple Watch Ultra, and works in harsh conditions when just using the buttons. See my review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26This updated version of the Hikelite 26 offers incredible value for the money. It's got a wide trampoline back, so your back doesn't get sweaty. It's under 2lbs, has deep side pockets, and is a great balance of what you need without what you don't.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated June 2024)

Lava Flow Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Lava Flow Trail Hike Directions

Lava Flow Trail Directions 3
Start by bearing right at the trailhead on the paved path.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 4
Hike over the bridge.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 5
At the t-junction make the right.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 6
And just after that, look for the dirt trail breaking off of the paved path. This is easy to miss.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 7
Go down the metal stairs and follow the dirt path.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 8
Stay on the trail that follows the fence line, avoiding the small trails into the lave field.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 10
At the end of the fence the trail passes through the field and by some interpretive displays.
Lava Flow Trail Directions 11
When the dirt path ends at the pavement, make the right to go back or make the left to do the small paved loop back to the parking area.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.