We had loosely planned to be at the Grand Canyon by November 1st, and it was already November 2nd so we decided to make the most of the day and hit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument after our half day at Petrified Forest. Sunset Crater is a perfect example of why the Department of the Interior does not allow people to enter all parts of national lands. Decades ago in the 60’s people were encouraged to climb Sunset Crater and were even given certificates of completion for doing so. What no one knew at that time was that the dormant volcano’s sandy surface was delicate and impressionable. The result is waist deep trenches still visible today marking the paths taken to summit the volcano in the 60’s. Even though Sunset Crater is permanently scarred, I still believe it should be open to visitors who wish to experience the volcano up close, perhaps by a limited number of permits. It is currently closed.
When you travel through Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument you eventually reach Wupatki National Monument.
This monument is a series of pueblos once inhabited by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.
Although these particular structures have been long since abandoned Native American families still lived on and worked the land until the mid to late 20th century until they were eventually all run off the land. Some were even still living on the land until the 90’s. Inside the visitor center the history between the Natives and the US government is documented and displayed. One Native is quoted for still wanting to go back to her family’s land. I believe this information is provided to visitors for transparency, but what I don’t understand is why this land is not given back. It seems as though it is not too late.
Fees Waived with Annual Pass:
Carlsbad Caverns National Park $20
Petrified Forest National Park $10
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument $10
Wupatki National Monument $10