In Northern Arizona, near Winslow, an hour and a half’s drive from Grand Canyon Village, there is a natural attraction that some unknown reason is not often frequented by visitors.
I am talking about Meteor Crater, the world’s best-preserved meteor crater. Of all places, it best documents the consequences of a meteorite’s impact on earth. It is also known as Canyon Diablo Crater, Barringer Crater, Coon Mountain and Coon Butte.
Today the crater looks like an immense circular depression, produced 50,000 years ago by the collision of a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 mph. The impact created a crater nearly a mile in diameter, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. There is nothing like this in the world.
The area is prepared to welcome tourists, with scenic trails along the outer edges and a fully equipped visitor center where you can view Impact: The Mystery of Meteor Crater, a film that recreates the impact that took place 50,000 years ago, simulating the thunderous sound and explosive fury of the meteor traveling through the Earth’s atmosphere using sophisticated 3D animation and production technologies. Here’s a clip:
You can also access the Interactive Discovery Center at the Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum. With its 24 exhibitions and numerous exhibits, it is a real treat for space lovers.
Plan Your Visit to Meteor Crater
The Meteor Crater Visitor Center is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Ticket prices include 3 observation points at the crater rim, a visit to the museum, a viewing of the film Impact and a 30-minute guided tour of the crater rim.
- Adults: $22
- Seniors (60 years old or older): $20
- Children (6-17 years old): $13
- Family tickets (5+ people): $2 discount on the admission ticket for adults and seniors and $1 for children.
- Children (Under 6 years old): Free admission
- Packages for groups are available
Admissions and Hours of Operation
- Pets are not allowed
- Thanksgiving Day: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m
- Closed on Christmas Day
Where is the Meteor Crater? Map
As I mentioned earlier, Meteor Crater is located in Northern Arizona, not far from the Grand Canyon, 35 miles east of Flagstaff and 12 miles west of Winslow. On I-40, take Exit 233, Meteor Crater Road, then continue heading south for 6 miles on the paved road. Check the map below.
Here are some pictures of this fascinating crater.