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Amboy Crater

MODERATE 83 reviews

Amboy Crater is a 4.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Amboy, California and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from September until February. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.1 miles Elevation Gain: 442 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

no shade

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. The crater trail starts though the lava fields. Just past 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. Heat related illness and death have occurred in this area, take precaution and be well prepared if hiking during the summer months.

hiking
no shade
rocky
19 days ago

The sign says to give yourself 3 hours but it can be done in half that time easily. Do give yourself time to take pictures and explore the center of the crater though.

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Nice easy hike, well maintained trail.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Awesome hike with a beautiful view from the top of the crater.

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

My favorite hike to day. Could of used some poles - quite steep and rocky at times...

6 months ago

easy hike with beautiful views

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this hike. Lots of beautiful lizards, butterflies, beetles, and flowers (at least in April). Strong sense of the power of nature walking around the crater. Super windy walking around the top. Well managed land, not too much, not too little. There's an ADA accessible viewing area near the parking lot.

7 months ago

Great hike. Easy path to follow & nice views. Parking lot has vault toilets if needed & a couple of shaded picnic tables.

hiking
bugs
no shade
8 months ago

Abundance of wild flowers along the path to the crater. Crater hike Moderate difficulty. great views.

9 months ago

Nice hike. Great views on top. Toughest part was coming down. Have to be careful of the gravel along the trail coming down. Could make for a nasty encounter with sharp rock.

hiking
10 months ago

Easy hike with great views of the desert, mountains and lava flow. We hiked the trail on a Sunday and only saw a few other hikers. Steep areas with loose rock around crater, but otherwise flat with a sand/rock trail. Note— due to the government shutdown, bathrooms are a bit messy.

hiking
11 months ago

Definitely worth the climb! I would recommend a sturdy pair of hiking boots and trekking poles. The poles help on the way down. You are able to walk the rim of the crater and explore inside the crater. The beginning of the tail is sandy with a few more sandy patches here and there. The rest of the trail is covered in lava rock. It’s pretty cool!

hiking
Sun Nov 25 2018

Easy hike...trail well marked.

hiking
Sun Nov 25 2018

A great way to spend my Black Friday. 72 degrees and not too windy. Hiking on part of the rim might be a little scary if there was wind. The igneous rock could be hard on the boots so proper footwear is recommended. There are some steep parts of the trail when entering the crater and also the rim. Lots of loose rock too. My poles came in handy. I’ll do this one again as long as it’s cool weather.

hiking
Sun Jun 17 2018

Great way to spend a day in family. Drove from San Diego to do this hike and really enjoyed it.

Sun May 27 2018

Very cool to hike inside and around the rim of a cinder cone. Easy hike, can get hot, make sure to take plenty of water.

Sun May 06 2018

This hike is so cool but only take it during the cooler seasons. The temperature gets really hot.

Wed Mar 14 2018

Parked in the day use lot and walked out from there (dashed line on map). Absolutely don't miss out on climbing to the caldera assuming you have sturdy shoes. And yes, take plenty of water. We drank 20 oz each. Sign suggests 3 hr. I suppose if you didn't linger you could do it in less, but the caldera is super cool. We also took many wildflower pix. Desert blooms are small, but impressive.

Tue Feb 20 2018

Interesting site along Route 66. Great views of the surrounding lava fields and a great level and paved overflow spot to park the RV and watch the stars at night. When we went there were hurricane force winds (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration) and making it to the rim was scary. We only walked about half the way around the rim before the wind forced a us down back the Co e area. #LiveLoveWanderTribe

hiking
Thu Feb 08 2018

Loved it! Of course, I'm a geology freak. Fun! Went in February, so the weather was nice!

Tue Jan 02 2018

Great Family trail. Super rocky, views along the ridge trail were awesome. Defiantly worth the stop.

hiking
Tue Oct 03 2017

Did this one on a windy day. The hike is amazing you walk through an old lava field all the way to the top of the crater. The views from the top are good and you can really see how active this area was. All together a great hike I wouldn't want to do it in the summer because of the heat.

hiking
Tue Jun 13 2017

A relatively easy hike along a well maintained trail. The trail even has a few resting stops along the way. Some parts of the trail were really sandy and along most of the trail, there was black volcanic rock, clear evidence of the area's past volcanic activity. I was here in mid June and it was in the mid 90s. This is definitely not a place to be hiking at in the mid summer when temperatures could well exceed 110 degrees. As this was a bit of a spontaneous hike, I was unprepared for what you need to be hiking in the middle of the desert. Eventually, I made it into the crater with my shirt drenched and with little water. With nobody within miles, I decided it was best just to hike back instead of walking along the rim as planned.

Tue May 30 2017

beautiful crater and a fun little hike. got lost on our way back though, tits a great place to catch a sunset but the trail easy to step off of in the dark!

hiking
Tue Apr 25 2017

Great hike! I couldn't believe how many flowers there were! Reminded me a lot of hiking in Hawaii.

Fri Dec 23 2016

Great hike in the middle of nowhere haha.. did the hike in late dec,was a slight rain, fun easy trail ..slow and steady thru the lower sandy section ,quick climb gets u up and inside the crater area ..take the upper ledge trails with care for great views .. would be great place for a bonfire .,,little short on firewood

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