S P Crater

Flagstaff

An off-the-beaten-path hike around the base of a cinder cone volcano.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
4.9 km
Ascent
375 m
Descent
375 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2.1 km
Gradient
14˚
S P Crater Map

S P Crater is one of the more unique and recognizable volcanic cinder cones in northern Arizona. Described by this source as "a striking feature on the local landscape with a well-defined lava flow that extends for 4.3 miles (7 km) to the north," this short and easy hike awards intimate views of the formation as it circles its western and southern faces. Further north of town than other Flagstaff favorites, this relaxing hike is still remote and wild, offering one the opportunity to escape other crowded trails while enjoying this unique geological phenomenon.

Description

According to Wikipedia, the mountain earned its name in a rather peculiar way. A bit of folklore: it's said that "C. J. Babbit, an 1880s ranger and early landowner of the mountain, expressed his opinion that the mountain resembled a chamber pot." As the full name of the peak includes vulgar language, most mapmakers have settled on the abbreviated name on modern maps and in other literature. The lava field and blackened rim of the crater led others to believe the formation resembled human waste overflowing from the crater.

Unique to this cinder cone, those who are up for the challenge can scale the side of the formation or even drop down into the middle of it! That said, solid footwear and hiking poles may be necessary, and you would want to bring plenty of water since there is none at the trailhead or anywhere on the hike. Restrooms are not available either, and cell phone reception cannot be relied on this far north of town.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPCrater

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Guidebooks in this area