Lunar Crater


Lunar Crater Volcanic Field covers more than 100 square miles of desert near US-6 between Tonopah and Ely. It contains cinder cones, lava flows and several craters. Lunar Crater, the most outstanding geological feature, is almost 4,000 feet in diameter, 430 feet deep and over 400 acres in size. In the late 1960's it was used to train astronauts for the Apollo moon missions. Other features include Easy Chair Crater, The Wall, Black Rock Lava Flow and over 20 other extinct volcanoes.

The fantastic landscape was formed over a long period of time. As early as two million years ago volcanic activity began forming the craters and a number of vents. Later, only a few thousand years ago, molten lava surfaced along a fault line and through the vents created by the earlier activity. As the 2000-degree-hot lava spread across the landscape it cooled and became basalt. Sometime during this period two tremendous volcanic eruptions created Lunar Crater and Easy Chair Crater.

All major attractions are well marked and accessible with most vehicles. However, watch for sandy spots in the road. Cross them at a steady speed or you may get stuck. There are no services; be sure to bring enough water.

You can hike down into the crater. The moderately strenuous hike takes between 30 and 60 minutes each way.

Directions

From the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel turn left onto Hwy 375 north. Follow it for about 59 miles. At the Warm Springs junction turn right onto US-6 east. After 27.8 miles you see a dirt road and a sign "Lunar Crater" on the right. Turn right onto the well-maintained dirt road. After 6.4 miles you get to the upper rim of Lunar Crater.
The road is suitable for most vehicles but rough, and sandy in parts. Keep moving in the sandy spots or you will get stuck. The road to The Wall requires high clearance.

GPS Coordinates

Rachel (Little A'Le'Inn)  N 37° 38.801'  W115° 44.760'
Queen City Summit  N37° 45.129'  W115° 56.733'
Warm Springs  N38° 11.447'  W116° 22.218'
Lunar Crater Turnoff  N38° 28.716'  W116° 03.298'
Lunar Crater  N38° 23.326'  W116° 04.076'

Related Links


Lunar Crater. Photo taken in June 1999.


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