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Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Coconino National Forest

Of the more than 600 volcanoes that define northern Arizona’s landscape, only one offers an opportunity for hikers to walk into the innards of a dormant mountain of fire. For reasons not entirely understood by geologists, the northeastern flank of Red Mountain collapsed, exposing the intricate internal structure of the 740,000-year-old cinder cone. Tiny cinders crunch underfoot along the ponderosa-shaded trail that leads into a visually striking arena of towering stone pillars and contorted lava formations. A secured six-foot ladder must be climbed in order to get into the most spectacular part of the mountain where disintegrating layers of red, ocher and black cinders create a maze of clefts and canyons and to explore.
LENGTH: 2.5 miles
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6700' - 7000'
GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Flagstaff. Connect to Highway 180 and continue north for 33 miles then turn left at mile marker 247. Follow the dirt road for .4 mile to the fenced parking area. There are no fees and no facilities at the trailhead.

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