Amboy Crater Trail California Mojave Desert

Amboy Crater is nestled halfway between Barstow and Needles, just off historic Route 66. It is located near, but not within, Mojave National Preserve. A visit to Amboy Crater will definitely take you back in time. Ten thousand years ago, this cinder cone volcano erupted, transforming the surrounding landscape. A 3-mile round trip trail leads up and into the crater, connecting to a path around the rim that provides startling views.

Amboy Crater Sunflowers
Sunflowers below Amboy Crater

From the parking lot, the trail starts out wide, before narrowing down to a single track. The trail crosses the desert floor, which in the spring time is covered with wild flowers, and swings around the right side of the crater. On the far side, the trail enters through an opening in the rim and climbs across the center to the top. The views from the rim of this 250-foot tall crater show a landscape transformed by volcanic ash.

Amboy Crater
Looking out from the rim
Amboy Crater
Looking in across the crater

Amboy Crater is an easy stop for travelers along Interstate 40 and a great detour for those headed from Southern California to Mojave National Preserve. Amboy Crater is on BLM land with no entrance fee. The crater has been protected by Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark since the 1970s, which became part of Mojave Trails National Monument when it was created in February of 2016.

To get to the trailhead: From Barstow, take Interstate 40 west to exit 50. Turn right on Crucero Road and make an immediate left onto Route 66. Take route 66 for 26 miles to the crater.

Trailhead address: Crater Road & Route 66, Amboy, CA 92304
Trailhead coordinates: 34.5572, -115.7814 (34° 33′ 25.9″N 115° 46′ 53″W)

Elevation Profile
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Trail Map

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These photos were taken in February of 2008. Click to enlarge.
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5 Comments on Amboy Crater in Mojave Trails National Monument

  1. Many years ago I went for a spelunking tour at nearby Pisgah Crater. There are several lava tubes in the area including one that is called Glove Cave not for its shape but because it fit like a glove. There had been great rain that year and the wildflowers were spectacular. Ah, for those days!

  2. Dan wrote:

    In person it is bigger than it looks in pictures. A very scenic nice little short hike. Wear boots because the rim trail has loose volcanic rock.

  3. I saw your video “The Head Of The Metolius”, very cool….I have been there a few times. I was wondering if you have any videos from the “Green Ridge Ranger/Fire Lookout Station” which is very close to The Head Of The Metolius. You can see several peaks from the Cascade Range. The Middle and The North Sister from The Three Sisters (and Little Brother) Range, also visible are Mt. Washington, Three-Fingered Jack, Mt Jefferson (up close and personal), Mt. Hood and on a very rare day I saw Mt. Adams in Washington. Black Butte, just south of Green Ridge, offers a very nice view as well which includes the eastern Oregon grasslands.