Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument in Arizona With Kids: it’s like another world, and totally worth a stop during your next Flagstaff trip!
There are two national monuments about 20 minutes north of Flagstaff, both possible to tour and enjoy within 3-4 hours. Sunset Crater Volcano is first, with unique geological history. No need to go to Hawaii, as you can walk through lava fields right in Arizona! Continuing the drive north within the park will bring you to Wupakti and numerous pueblo ruins. You can even walk inside some of them! Visiting both these parks is a great family day trip option.
Here are some tips for visiting Sunset Crater, and Wupatki National Monuments:
- The $25/car entrance fee covers both parks! National Park passes can also be used.
- Be sure to pick up Junior Ranger booklets at the visitor’s centers (indoor exhibits are currently closed, but there are rangers stationed outside. Also, restrooms are open.)
- We have three favorite stops within Sunset Crater: Bonita Lava Flow, Cinder Hills Overlook, and Painted Desert Vista (great place to have lunch!). Also, the Lava Flow Trail is paved and a good option.
- Watch little ones when waking along with the Bonita Lava Flow. While the path is loose gravel, the sides are sharp lava rocks and can easily scratch.
- Favorite stops in Wupatki- Wukoki Pueblo, and Wupatki Pueblo (behind the visitor’s center). Also, being that this is a desert landscape, be prepared with hats, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
- We’ve visited these monuments twice now, and have stayed around 3.5 hours, including driving time within the parks. But it can easily be longer if you make more stops, and a bit shorter if you are on a schedule.
- More information about Sunset Crater can be found here, and more information about Wupatki can be found here.
Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument in Arizona With Kids