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.


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


Amboy Crater 14

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.

Amboy Crater 20

After that proceed about 2 miles down the road to the turnoff 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

Amboy Crater 12

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.

Amboy Crater 13

The Trail

Amboy Crater 15

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.

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.

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

Amboy Crater 10

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 no shade on the whole trail so do not do it in the summertime.

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.

Amboy Crater 8

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 four trails to get out the top.

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.

Amboy Crater 4

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.

Amboy Crater 6

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 it goes and would have been amazing to see back when it was active. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Amboy Crater 7

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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