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Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark

Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark
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General Information

Amboy Crater
Copyright: - US Bureau of Land Management
Amboy Crater
Description - Amboy Crater was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 in recognition of its visual and geologic significance. The Amboy Crater consists of 5,760 acres. Amboy Crater is a recent and very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone, breached on one side where basaltic lava poured out over a vast area. The inside of the 250 foot high crater contains two lava dams behind which has formed small lava "lakes." These are now flat in general appearance, covered with light colored clay, creating the impression of miniature "dry lakes." Trails follow the rim of the crater and have been used heavily. Outside the crater, the lava field contains such features as lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones, and massive flows of basalt.

Amboy Crater stands alone in the Mojave Desert with no other evidence of recent volcanism close by. A combination of factors contribute to the significance of Amboy Crater and its resulting designation as a National Natural Landmark. Amboy Crater is an excellent example of a volcanic cinder cone. It is not unique, however. Its setting, the many volcanic phenomena associated with it in a relatively small area, the fact that it is a truly symmetrical recent cone, the presence of a most unusual flat crater floor, its past and present use in the study of volcanology, and its use by travelers in past years as a guide landmark separate this site from other similar such sites.

Attractions - You can hike to the west side of the crater and hike to the top and inside the crater. The trail is steep and rocky. Hikers are recommended to check in at Roy's Cafe in Amboy to obtain additional information about the area and desert safety tips. During the spring month from March to May, desert wildflowers are abundant. Blankets of desert primrose and sand verbena provide an excellent area for photography.

Recreation - Sightseeing, hiking, nature photography and wildflower identification are the main reasons people venture to Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark.

Climate - Days in south-central California are typically clear with less than 25 percent humidity. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high of 85 degrees F and a low of 50 degrees F respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60 degrees F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100 degrees F during the day and not cooling much below 75 degrees F until the early morning.

Location - Amboy Crater is located 2.5 miles west of the small desert town of Amboy along National Trails Highway formerly known as historic "Route 66." The access road is very rocky and requires either a four-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicle. A parking area is located a short distance from the highway.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: John Compton (Fullerton, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Amboy Crater - Took the boys and dog to Amboy Crater. What a sight. It's between 29 Palms and I40. The parking lot is 1 mile from the crater. Make sure you have good shoes because walling on the round volcanic rocks can hurt your ankles. You have to walk around the back side to follow the trail into the crater. You have to remember the direction to the car because everything looks the same when you exit the crater.

Filed By: Alex (Moreno Valley, Ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: We have been out to this site a couple of times. It is faily easy access to the cone, once out there take the trail to the side of the cone, it is easier to get into the cone that way. The view is worth the time to get out there. As for the road out to the cinder cone is passable with a two wheel high clearance truck or SUV and be careful sandpits along the roadway, parts of the road aren't well marked.

Filed By: Eric 'Rover' Evans (Bullhead City, AZ)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: I like volcanos and volcanic originated formations, but a 2 hour hike here will suffice. Park in the designated area: DON'T DRIVE OUT ON THE MANY SIDEROADS! You will get lost or even stuck! Its hard to believe there is a volcano this close to Los Angeles, so its worth the trek, if you happen to be in the area, to see this 'oddity.'

More Information

Contact Information:
Needles BLM Field Office, 101 W. Spikes Road , Needles, CA, 92363, Phone: 760-326-7000, Fax: 760-326-7099

Additional Information:
California National Forests & Parks - California's National Parks, Monuments and Forests cover lands from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Desert Region - The Desert Region encompasses the southeast corner of California. It features Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks. The region is studded with glittering yet relaxing resort cities, offers the ideal spot for re-energizing your senses.


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