. . . . . .
SouthwestUS logo
Photo of Southwestern USA
Info | Destinations | Photos | Resources | Home

See more photos

Red Mountain
Have you ever wanted to see the interior "guts" of a volcano? If the answer to this question is yes, Red Mountain is a great way to do so.

. .

For Families:

This is a great hike for children. The walk at the beginning is interesting, and the inside of the volcano is a child's dream of climbing and scrambling, with little alcoves and miniature canyons. The rocks are a little slippery with gravel, so maybe you shouldn't let the kids climb too high.

Also, if you wait to leave the crater — until the children are quite tired of climbing around — they may have a bit of a hard time on the hike out, even though the hike is only 1.25 miles each way. We stashed our packs and went exploring around the inside. There is really only one way out via the stairs. We had a picnic in the crater after everyone was done exploring, and that rested the children enough for the hike out.

Mainly, the children loved Red Mountain, especially being able to tell their friends they got to go inside a volcano.


Red Mountain is a Volcanic Cinder Cone that rises approximately 1,000 ft. above the surrounding landscape. It is actually a U shaped Cinder Cone with an amphitheater on the northeast side that has exposed part of the internal structure of the Cinder Cone. Internal structures are rarely exposed, and it is this amphitheater that the hike goes into.

From the parking lot the trail slowly climbs uphill. En route the trail passes through a forest of pinyon pine and junipers before reaching a wash. Follow the wash to the entrance of the volcano. The forest changes to Ponderosa Pine before reaching the entrance. At the entrance to the vocano's interior, visitors will encounter the remains of a volcanic dike. In the past it was necessary to climb up and over, but the Forest Service has placed a small ladder/steps of steps to enable visitors to easily bypass the igneous barrier.

Along the trail, hikers are likely to see crystals that at first glance resemble obsidian (volcanic glass.) The crystals are actually pyroxene and amphibole. These crystals can be found on the trail where they have eroded out of the matrix, and in some of the walls of the amphitheater.

The back of the amphitheater is an 800 ft. vertical cliff. The interior has a few passageways and hoodoos, which are quite fun to explore.

The hike is 2.5 miles roundtrip. It is a nice hike for families.

This is high elevation. (6,88 ft-7,200 ft.) higher if one decides to climb Red Mountain. Visitors should be prepared for conditions. There is no water on this hike. If the wash is flooded do not attempt to enter or cross.

Location: Northern Arizona. Approximately thirty miles north of Flagstaff on Highway 180. Look for milepost 247 and signs announcing the Red Mountain Geologic area. Drive a quarter mile on a dirt road to the parking lot.


Please note that all the images are copyrighted and you may not copy them
for any purpose without getting consent.

General Information | Resources | Destinations | Photos | Contact SouthwestUS | Home
©2009 SouthwestUS.com. All rights reserved. No images may be copied or reproduced in any form without written permission.