The San Francisco Volcanic
Field of Northern Arizona I

Including SP Crater, Colton Crater and Red Mountain
The San Francisco Volcanic Field of northern Arizona includes around 600
dormant or extinct volcanos. In the greater Flagstaff region, ancient volcanic activity
produced such large, well-known mountains as the San Francisco Peaks, Kendrick
Mountain and Sunset Crater. However, many lesser-known volcanos are also worth
seeing including SP Crater, Colton Crater, and Red Mountain. As cinder cones many
of these places retain the classic look and shape of volcanos. In fact, if you make
the arduous climb to the rim of SP Crater you can actually peer down into a cone
that's so deep and steep that most hikers probably would not dare drop into it
for fear of not being able to climb back out. Nearby Colton Crater is not quite as
dramatic but still very much looks like a volcano. Red Mountain deviates from
from the classic volcano look but features interesting rock formations. For more
photos of cinder cones see The San Francisco Volcanic Field II page.

  A juniper tree near SP Crater, a cinder cone (dormant volcano) north of Flagstaff, Arizona   Rocky Mt. Bee Plants beneath SP Crater, a cinder cone (dormant volcano) in northern Arizona   Red Mt., a cinder cone (ancient volcano) northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona   A juniper tree near SP Crater, a cinder cone (dormant volcano) in northern Arizona  

  Rocky Mt. Bee Plants beneath SP Crater, a cinder cone (dormant volcano) in northern Arizona   Red Mt., a cinder cone (ancient volcano) northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona   A juniper tree near Colton Crater, a cinder cone (volcano) in northern Arizona   Full moon rising behind a juniper tree about 25 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona  

  Colton Crater, a cinder cone (volcano) in nothern Arizona. In the distance are the San Francisco Peaks.   Looking into Colton Crater, a cinder cone (volcano) in northern Arizona   At the summit of SP Crater, looking from rim to rim   At the summit of SP Crater, looking from the rim down to the bottom of the cone  


Images from Google Earth
To fully appreciate these volcanos you must get an aerial perspective.
Since I don't have a pilot's license I encourage you to view SP Crater,
Colton Crater and Red Mt. on Google Earth. As these satellite images
show, SP Crater also has a basalt lava flow spilling from it. Yes, you can
walk around in the "lava", although today the hard, sharp, jagged, black
volcanic rock makes for very slow, awkward "boulder hopping" that's quite
hard on the soles of your boots (and even harder on your body if you fall).
A few other smaller hills and cinder cones are also visible in these images,
as the San Francisco Volcanic Field contains hundreds of volcanos.

       

     
S.P. Crater and Colton Crater, Arizona, from Google EarthSP and Colton Craters
 
Red Mt. in northern Arizona as seen from Google Earth
Red Mountain
     






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