Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark

Amboy Crater

Features: This is a short but scenic hike in the newly designated Mojave Trails National Monument. Amboy Crater was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, due to is visual and geological significance. Although Amboy Crater is not unique, it is an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone.

Due to the often extremely hot temperatures in this area, it is suggested that hikes be planned roughly between the months of October thru April. If the rainfall has been adequate, the spring months from March to May can bring displays of desert wildflowers such as desert primrose and sand verbena. Keep an eye out for chuckwallas and zebra-tailed lizards in and around the rocks.

The trailhead is clearly marked and can be seen from the day use parking lot. The trail itself is not well marked in places; if you lose the trail, keep heading toward the crater and you will likely come across a trail marker or find the trail again. The round trip hike is about three miles. Located about a mile from the day use area, the cone is one mile in circumference. Follow the trail to the west of the cinder cone. This will take you to an opening where an explosive eruption breached the crater wall. From here, you will need to scramble up the side to the rim of the crater – about an 80 foot incline. There is no sign marking this spot. Look for what appears to be a slight trail heading up the side of the crater.

The inside of the 250 foot high crater contains two lava dams behind which have formed small lava lakes. These are now flat in general appearance, covered with light colored clay, creating the impression of miniature “dry lakes.” Beyond the crater lies 24 square miles of lava flow containing such features as lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones, and massive flows of basalt.

ADA accessible shaded and un-shaded picnic tables and restrooms are available as well as a shaded crater viewing platform about 250 feet from the parking lot. Some important reminders:

During summer months or windy conditions, hiking to the rim is not recommended. There is an old scar on the face of the crater where many people hiked or tried to drive ATVs up the crater. This is not a trail and is DANGEROUS. Please do not use it. Remember to bring a hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, and plenty of water. Watch out for snakes and other desert wildlife along the trail.

Directions to the trailhead: From the City of Barstow take Highway 40 to the Ludlow exit. Turn to the right on Bagdad Chase Road and then make a left on Route 66/National Trails Highway. Travel about 28 miles. Make a right when you see the sign for the Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark and follow the road to the day use parking lot.

From the City of Twentynine Palms take Highway 62 to Utah Trail. Make a left on Utah Trail and then a right on Amboy Road. Continue on Amboy Road about 15 miles, when it will veer to the left (north). Continue on Amboy Road for about 27 miles until you reach the intersection with Route 66/National Trails Highway in the town of Amboy. Make a left on Route 66 and travel about three miles. Make a left when you see the sign for the Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark and follow the road to the day use parking lot. [Hikericon.jpg] Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.

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Caution:
Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.