Amboy Crater is a 3.8 mile out and back trail located near Amboy, CA and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible from September until February.
Mojave desert hike onto an ancient volcano crater through lava fields. Amboy crater is a moderate hike off of route 66. The crater is actually an ancient cinder cone near the Mojave national preserve. The Crater area has been used to test the Mars rovers (see blm website http://www.ca.blm.gov/needles/amboy.html ). The crater starts though the lava fields. Just passed the lava field is a moderately flat area to the base. From the base, hike to the west side up a moderate slope. on the west side, follow the hike trail near the base. At the breach, hike up the steep incline into the crater. Once inside, you can hike straight to the caldera, or follow one of the steep trails up to the rim. You can hike on the rim from one side of the breach to the other. The northeast side of the rim is very narrow and steep on both sides so be careful. Also, good hiking boots are recommended as the lava can be sharp. This hike is best attempted in the Fall and Winter as Summer temperatures can get over 100 degrees.
I got to the trailhead too late in the day to make the full hike before the sun set, so I hiked about half way. I found the terrain super interesting with stunning evidence of volcanic eruption marked by black pumice in all directions. The trail itself was very hiker friendly with ample resting spots for the amateur hiker. I would recommend stiff-soled hiking boots/shoes for this hike.
DO NOT go in the summer! It was 112 degrees and sheer sauna! Time it for early Spring & see some desert flowers. We were the ONLY living things about there...not even a bird or a fly was heard. I call it Sauna city!
A good hike and the drive to Amboy from Twenty-nine Palms by Amboy Road is interesting as is the view of the salt flats
Great hike in November. Took Webelos Scouts out to the cinder cone and even hiked the rim without incident. The climb into the crater is tricky for young hikers as well those with mobility issues. Recommend hiking stick or trekking poles if you attempt the rim. It is very narrow, very steep drop offs, and gets quite windy on top. The vistas are grand. This should be on everyone's to do list, even if only once.
Great hike. From the parking lot to the base of the crater is mostly flat, and sandy, but you do walk thru some small lava rock piles which are pretty cool to explore. Once you get to the base of the crater, the trail gets pretty steep to the rim. The trail goes all the way around the rim and there are a few into the bottom of the crater. Nice views of the Twentynine Palms Marine Base and the old town of Amboy. If you do this during summer, take plenty of water. Even in cooler weather, it gets pretty hot when the sun is blazing on the black lava rocks.
This is an awesome hike to do if you are in the area for hikes in either Mojave or Joshua Tree. Worth the time.
The hike out to the Crater is well marked but pretty uneventful. But once you get to the crater..WOW. I did the hike in January around 3-4PM so the sun was just about to set. There were white/sun bleached bushes dotting the entire volcano....they definitely stood out with the black lava as a background.
You can enter the volcano on the west side. The hike up is somewhat steep but moderate. Once you get into the volcano there are a few trails that lead up to the rim.
Great Place saw lots of lizards.The crater is a fun hike with a great payoff at the top.
I've done this hike multiple times, during every season. I really enjoy it, hiking to the crater, up in and into it! It really isn't as hard as some people make it out to be, as long as it isn't during the hottest time of the year. I've never really come across much wildlife or notable plants but lots of awesome rocks :)
As soon as it cools back down, I plan to head out again to make it an annual event.
Only think to remember is bring water, pick up your trash and be careful if you wear hiking sandals as some of the rocks are really sharp.