Meteor Crater – Arizona
Meteor crater was a quick stop on our Arizona road trip. Since the crater is privately owned, admission is $18/person, which is a egregious, especially considering admission to the Grand Canyon is $30/per vehicle for an entire week. So I guess when it comes to paying to look at holes in the ground, the Grand Canyon gives you the most bang for your buck. On the bright side, admission to meteor crater comes with a voucher for a free chocolate chip cookie at the Subway in the visitor center. The catch is that you have to endure an entire Subway sub in order to earn your free cookie which probably isn’t worth it.
Despite the fact that this is a bit of a tourist trap, the crater is impressive and worth the quick stop. It is almost one mile across and about 550 feet deep. So it’s huge. It is considered to be one of the best preserved meteorite impact sites on earth. There was also a small museum in the visitor center with some interesting information about the history of the crater and and a short movie explaining its history. It is believed that the impact occurred approximately 50,000 years ago and the 150-foot-wide meteor was traveling at a speed of 26,000 miles per hour. According to what we learned in the visitor center, the impact was the equivalent of 20 million tons of TNT exploding simultaneously.
There is a walkway along part of the crater rim complete with observation decks and telescopes that allow you to get a close-up look at the surface of the massive crater. The walkway does not go all the way around the crater and visitors are not permitted to descend into the crater.
The meteor crater is located in Winslow, Arizona, which you may recognize from a certain Eagle’s song. It is located about 45 minutes east of Flagstaff on I-40. You take exit 233 on the aptly named Meteor Crater Road and follow the road until you arrive at the parking lot. It’s about an hour and half drive from Sedona, two hours from the Grand Canyon, and almost three hours from Phoenix.