SP Crater – Flagstaff, Arizona - Atlas Obscura

SP Crater

The cinder cone volcano with a less than complimentary name. 


SP Crater gets overlooked for a few reasons. The neighboring volcano, Sunset Crater, is a bit more picturesque with its forest setting, and has national park status. SP Crater is off by itself on private ranchland, but the landowners permit visitors to check out this perfect example of a cinder cone and its 4.5-mile lava flow. 

The crater was eloquently named by 1880s rancher and landowner of the cinder cone C.J Babbit after what he felt the extinct volcano resembled:  shit pot. This became the name that locals used to call the mountain, but mapmakers chose to not spell this out explicitly, instead opting for modesty and abbreviating it. Unlike the volcano in nearby Sunset Crater National Monument, you can climb to the top of SP Crater, and if you’re sure-footed, you can even drop down inside of it.

The peak rises up from the surrounding desert to a height of 820 feet. Volcanologists estimate SP Crater is between 65,000 and 71,000 years old.

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