Lava Flow Trail

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Located 13.4 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona (AZ)
4 Stars
621 Steps 1  (0.3 mi)

Approximately 950 years ago the volcano of Sunset Crater erupted and changed the surrounding landscape to what you see today. The Lava Flow Trail is a short, self-guided trail at the base of the now extinct Sunset Crater. The trail follows the lava flow and cinder that spewed from the volcano. Sunset Crater cinder cone is the youngest of 600 volcanoes within the San Francisco Volcanic Field ranging in ages from 6 million years to 1000 years.

Lava Flow Trail


The Lava Flow Trail has a maximum elevation of 6,980 ft (2,128 m), a minimum elevation of 6,956 ft (2,120 m), and an elevation range of 24 ft (7 m).


[ A to B ] or [ B to A ]
Steps 1Length 2Min Ele 3Max Ele 4
6210.3 mi6,956 ft6,980 ft
[ A to B ]
Time 5Floors 6Gain 7Loss 8
7 min1.619 ft31 ft
[ B to A ]
7 min2.631 ft19 ft

What is the length of the Lava Flow Trail?

The length of the trail is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) or 621 steps.

How long does it take to hike the Lava Flow Trail?

A person in good physical health can hike the trail in 7 min in the [ A to B ] direction, and in 7 min in the [ B to A ] direction.


The following chart shows the total calories that you may expend on the trail while hiking in the [ A to B ] and [ B to A ] direction at a typical speed and is based on gross weight (which includes anything carried), the topography, trail length and trail conditions.

Topo Maps

Download the free Lava Flow Trail topo map and the adjoining quads to plan your hike. These are full-sheet, 7.5 Minute (1:24,000 scale) Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument topographic maps. Do you want full-sheet outdoor recreation JPEG Topo Maps?

Adjoining 7.5' Quadrangle Legend

  1. Northwest Topo Map: White Horse Hills, AZ
  2. North Topo Map: O'Leary Peak, AZ
  3. Northeast Topo Map: Strawberry Crater, AZ
  4. West Topo Map: Humphreys Peak, AZ
  5. Topo Map: Sunset Crater West, AZ
  6. East Topo Map: Sunset Crater East, AZ
  7. Southwest Topo Map: Flagstaff West, AZ
  8. South Topo Map: Flagstaff East, AZ
  9. Southeast Topo Map: Winona, AZ

Is there a Lava Flow trail map?

Yes, and it's free! The Lava Flow Trail is located on the Sunset Crater West topo map. Use the adjoining quadrangle legend to download the map.



  1. Steps is a unit of distance equal to the sum of stride lengths that vary with the terrain.
  2. Length is the distance of the trail between the two trailheads, measured on the trail.
  3. Min Ele is the minimum elevation on the trail.
  4. Max Ele is the maximum elevation on the trail.
  5. Time is the typical total time required to hike the trail.
  6. Floors is the gain divided by twelve, the height of one floor.
  7. Gain (cumulative elevation gain) is the sum of every gain in elevation.
  8. Loss (cumulative elevation loss) is the sum of every loss in elevation.