Amboy Crater: Hiking Through a Lava Field to a Volcano

I am a huge fan of both Route 66 and hiking, so when I heard about a unique hike on Route 66 I knew I had to get out there. Located literally in the middle of nowhere, near the small town of Amboy, sits this massive volcano known as the Amboy Crater.

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  • 3 miles round trip
  • 300 feet of elevation
  • No shade
  • Lots of uneven footing

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If you are heading to Amboy Crater then you should stop at Amboy as well. There are a lot of historic Route 66 sites to see there such as the famous motel and the cafe.

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After that proceed about 2 miles down the road to the turn off for the Amboy Crater (there is a sign for it), and park in the big parking lot with picnic tables and two pit toilets

The Overlook

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A good place to check out before the trail is the overlook that is on the left side of the parking lot. This area provides a great view of the crater and volcanic fields and it is a good point of reference when you are up at the top of the crater.

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The Trail

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The trail itself is about 1.1 miles from the parking lot to the base of the crater. During that time you will be going over uneven rock for pretty much the entire hike.

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The trail goes up and down and through sand and lava fields as you approach and each step gives you a different and unique view of the area and the crater.

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Pay attention to the ground while walking as you can often see small lizards and unique bugs walking the harsh ground. In the spring it is also not strange to see a few wildflowers.

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As you approach the crater it gets less daunting as it appears much smaller up close then it does far away. There are a couple scattered places to sit and relax but there is literally no shade on the whole trail so do not do it in the summer time.

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The trail proceeds around the back right of the crater and that is where it starts to head up, up until this point it has been flat.

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The uphill is steep and uneven but the first part is relatively short. When you get to the top of this you will be inside the crater and can pick any of the 4 trails to get out the top.

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We proceeded up the left trail which was very steep but quick and got out the rim. The view from here is awe-inspiring. it is so massive and vast as there is literally nothing around you for miles.

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From here you can elect to walk back if you want or you can walk along the rim of the crater (about .3 miles) like we did.

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The right side of the crater is the most unusual as it overlooks the sea of lava rock from the eruption thousands of years ago. It is crazy how far its goes and would have been amazing to see back when it was active.

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Here are some of my favorite pictures:

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After that just head back down the way you came, but make sure to take your time as the ground can be slippery with all the loose rock. You can now check off, hike a volcano, from your bucket list.

Video of Hiking Amboy Crater





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  • Hi Josh. If you have a chance go back to the crater when the wild flowers are blooming, its wonderful. We also got lucky with the salt flat nearby as it had recently rained and created a stunning reflection of the sky.

    • Thanks for comment! I can only imagine that would be pretty amazing! The salt flat sounds awesome too!

  • Monique R. Espinoza

    When would you suggest is the best time to go? Also do you know if its dog friendly?

    • Any time other then summer is good. Summer is incredibly hot so I would not recommend that. I apologize, I am not sure whether or not it is dog-friendly.