Meteor Crater is located near Winslow, AZ just off I40 so, we went to “Standin’ on the Corner Park” in Winslow. There is a flatbed ford and photo ops with statues of the musicians that made it famous.
Then, a half-hour drive to the crater which just looks like a group of hills as we approached.
The visitor center and parking area are right up on the rim of the crater, so not much hiking here. We opted for the guided walk along the rim and learned a lot about meteor craters.
This crater is over 4000 feet across and 550 feet deep. Twenty football fields would fit easily on the floor while the walls could hold thousands of spectators.
The largest recovered fragment of the meteor (1400 lbs) is on display in the visitor centre. It is mostly rusty except where everyone touches it is quite shiny. It is 80% iron. The meteor that struck the earth 50,000 years ago at 26,000 mph at an 80 degree angle, was only 150 ft across and weighed several hundred tons.
Our informative guide let each of us hold a small fragment of the meteor, then checked our “energy” levels with a magnet. She also ran her magnets through the sand at our feet and picked up piles of tiny iron fragments.
Ruins of the former visitor center and base for mining operations from the early 1900’s still remain.
This is the easiest way down, which was used by early miners, and even astronauts. Before walking on the moon, astronauts in the 1960’s trained here at the best preserved meteor crater in the world. An old steel water pipe goes down the wall to the bottom. At the bottom of the crater are the remains of a steam engine and a mine shaft from early attempts to locate the meteor.
From the rim of the crater, we could see the snowy peaks near Flagstaff, AZ. We returned to the visitor center to watch a quick video and to experience the 4D Collision.