Amboy Crater, California

Here we take you on a walk up the ADA accessible pathway to the overlook of Amboy Crater, a National Natural Landmark since 1973. The crater is located in the Mojave Desert off of Historic Route 66, National Trails Highway. It’s 2.4 miles from the abandoned ghost town of Amboy, California, and just over 50 miles from the Twentynine Palms entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. If you’re driving to the crater from Joshua Tree, watch out the left side of your window on Amboy Road to catch the lava as it appears just after the Amboy salt flat. If you’re driving in from Kelso Rd., drive through the town of Amboy, over the railroad tracks, and stay straight on Route 66. The crater is on the left. To get up close and personal with Amboy, you can take a short hike on the unpaved trail to the small volcano, a 1.5-mile walk. Covered picnic areas are available at the parking area.

Note: Hikes should be planned for the months of October through April as temperatures can get into the triple digits (Fahrenheit). Keep an eye on the weather for temperatures and wind speeds. The desert wind can grow unexpectedly strong.

Entrance to Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark, part of the Mojave Trails National Monument

Violent volcanic explosions unleashed the ashes and cinders that formed the cinder cone we see today. Amboy Crater rises 250 feet above the desert floor. The lava spreads out over a vast area of 24 square miles around the crater.

Lava, or basalt, covers 24 square miles around the Amboy Crater.

If you’re running low on water, or require a good hand wash, the nearby ghost town of Amboy’s got you covered. Go right on Route 66 from Crater Rd. (do not turn back on to Amboy Rd.) and take the left over the railroad tracks to enter the small town. At Roy’s Motel and Cafe, the old gas station sells snacks and drinks for weary travelers, and gas is available upon request. The town offers a glimpse into the past when Route 66 – also known as The Mother Road – was hopping.

Gas can also be found along the 40 West about 30 miles out to Ludlow or 42 miles on the 40 East to Fenner.

Informational sign about the Amboy Crater.

What else would you like to explore in the Mojave Desert? Leave a comment below, and subscribe to our channel! We’ll see you again soon!

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