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Part of the greater-San Francisco volcanic field, the Old Caves Crater Trail wanders along the base of an ancient cinder cone volcano just moments north of Flagstaff.
It's an excellent option to explore the region's unique geology, and the trail has something to offer for everyone.
Unique to the area, it's a hike that can be enjoyed year-round and with the entire family, including the dog! You'll enjoy a few nice views of town and a diversity in plant life that will have you begging for more. There are a few ways to enjoy this hike, thanks to the Crater Loop Trail that circles the massif rather than summiting it.
Seen here, you'll start by climbing to the top of Old Caves Crater at nearly 7,200-feet along its southern face.
After exploring the peak, you'll descend the northern slopes face and return via the eastern half of the loop.
Less forested than the western half, you'll explore hillsides covered in pinyon and juniper, as well as the occasional pine.
Should you be looking for an easier hike overall, bypass the summit and instead follow the loop around the base of the crater. There are two main trailheads for Old Caves Crater, one on Cinder Lake Landfill Road and another on Silver Saddle Road.
This route is mapped from the latter.
Neither restrooms nor drinking water is available at either, though you're just minutes from town if you need either. Sources: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=55142