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S P Crater, Flagstaff

4.6
#8 of 10 in Trails in Flagstaff
S P Crater is a cinder cone volcano in the San Francisco volcanic field, 25mi north of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is surrounded by several other cinder cones which are older and more eroded. It is a striking feature on the local landscape, with a well-defined lava flow that extends for 4.3mi to the north.
The naming of the mountain is a bit of lore from the Old West. S P Crater can be climbed, and the lava flow can be viewed from the crater rim. C. J. Babbit, an 1880s rancher and early landowner of the mountain, expressed his opinion that the mountain resembled a pot of excrement (Shit Pot), and locally this became the accepted name. When viewed from certain angles on the ground, the combination of the smooth round shape of the cone, the dark lava spatter on the rim, and the long dark lava flow extruding from the base do indeed resemble a toilet catastrophe. Mapmakers refused to spell out the full name, and the mountain has been shown on maps and other literature with the abbreviated name.
S P Crater is an 820ft high cinder cone of basaltic andesite. The cone is capped by an agglutinate rim that helps to protect its structure. A lava flow extends to the north of the cone for about 7km and originated from the same vent. Some scientists consider the lava flow to have slightly predated the cinder cone because of geochemical data that suggests the flow is more silica rich than the cinders and based on the observation that the cone overlaps the lava flow and shows no sign of deformation. However, there is some debate about the relationship between the cone and flow as it is not uncommon to form cinder cones during the early phase of an eruption as a magma degasses, and then to have lava push through the side of a cone during a late phase of eruption.
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S P Crater Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
9 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • Approaching from the North it's readily apparent which Mountain "lost its top". The hike around the South side showing the frozen Lava flows is an awesome spectacle initself. Now I know where the "Lav...  more »
  • Great hike up a cinder hill with incredible views and a deep bowl in the center. It's hard and steep, but pretty short and you're a the top before you know it. You can drive halfway up, but only with ...  more »
  • On a tour with the Geological Society of America and the University of Northern Arizona. Wonderfully large volcanic cone that can be climbed and explored. A nice dirt road takes one off US 89 to the S...  more »
Google
  • Very cool place, might be hard to miss the dirt road from the freeway but a very interesting place to see and visit if your in the area, you can even climb the cinder cone to get the entire view
  • this is a horible science project do not recamend!!!!!!>:(
  • Cool place to visit and look around. The dirt road has some washboard spots but wasn't too bad.
  • Super fun to climb up and run/ slide down the side of this almost bouncy lava rock. You feel like the hulk flying around!
  • Good
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