Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments
North of Flagstaff, Arizona • June 12, 2021

I had just hiked two volcanic mounds north of here, and the day was still young. I had no other peaks planned and I did not want to rush back to my hotel room. Since the north entrance to the Wupatki National Monument was close by, I decided to take that scenic drive back into town and revisit Wupatki, my first time back since 2004, when my wife and I toured the ruins.

The drive is wonderfully scenic. It starts out with high desert rangeland with low brush and few trees, with hundred-mile views north and east into the vast mesa country of the Navajo Nation. Man, I love these views. I stopped first at the Citadel Pueblo, where I hiked up a paved trail to top out on the ruins of this pueblo, built atop a natural rock outcrop.

I then drove to the main Wupatki Ruins, and walked the paths. The visitor's center was just opening up, so I paid them a visit (and my $25 fee) when I returend from my wander. The Wukoki Ruins are close by, and I drove out to them too.

The next 15 miles wander through transition from the high desert to the pinon-juniper woodlands, then the bigger ponderosa forests, entering the Sunset Crater National Monument. I stopped at an overlook for photos, then hiked Lenox Crater in my sandals, which probably is not advised unless you like rocks under your feet.

The drives and wanderings took up nearly 3 hours and was worth the cost and time. The day was crystal clear, but warm.

Citadel Pueblo

Nearing the structure

An interesting depression

Top of Citadel Pueblo

Wupatki Pueblo main structure

Wupatki Pueblo

Ball court

The Pueblo again

Seen from lower down

Closeup of the main ruins

Another angle

One last shot as I leave

Wukoki Pueblo

Closer in

Different angle

Sunset Crater. No hiking allowed. Drat.

The Cinder Hills --- that's Double Crater

Lenox Crater trailhead

Top of Lenox Crater

Lenox Crater

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(c) 2021 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only.