map

Meteor Crater Visitor Center

icon-location-red

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Meteor Crater Rd, Winslow, AZ 86047, United States

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit Meteor Crater early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the best lighting for photography, as the shadows can enhance the crater's features. Also, check with the visitor center for guided tours that are not always advertised, which can take you to less-traveled viewpoints around the crater."

What is Meteor Crater?

Nestled in the high desert plains of Northern Arizona, right off the old Route 66, lies a monumental testament to the power of the cosmos—Meteor Crater. It's not merely a hole in the ground but an astronomical marvel, a perfectly preserved impact site where, about 50,000 years ago, a colossal iron-nickel meteorite, measuring 150 feet across and weighing several hundred thousand tons, slammed into Earth. It left behind a massive crater approximately one mile across and over 550 feet deep.

Our Most Popular Tour:

All-Inclusive
Chicago Downtown Highlights Private Walking Tour

Welcome to Chicago, also known as 'The Jewel of the Midwest'! On this private walking tour our expert local guide will take you to see some of Chic...

US$189/pp Learn more

For someone like me who's walked the rim countless times, Meteor Crater, also known as Barringer Crater, is not just a gaping chasm in the earth—it's a gateway into our past. Both visually and geologically striking, it provides an unmissable experience for those captivated by Earth's history and the possibility of future celestial events. Despite its name, it's not your run-of-the-mill shooting star. It's a testimony to the collisions that have shaped planetary bodies throughout our solar system.

History of Meteor Crater

Long before it was understood for what it truly was, local Native American tribes knew of the crater, and some of the earliest European settlers came across the site in the late 19th century. However, it was a man by the name of Daniel Barringer who first proposed that the crater had been the result of a meteorite impact. He believed deeply in the theory, and in 1903, he staked his claim, not just to the crater but to what he thought was an iron mine of meteoric origin. Barringer's family still owns the crater today, and it stands as testament to early scientific detective work.

Despite Barringer's initial incorrect assessment that there would be massive deposits of meteoric iron just beneath the surface, his work laid the foundation for what we understand now about impact craters. His persistence led to it being one of the first sites that gave credence to the idea that craters could be caused by meteorite impacts—a concept that, believe it or not, was not widely accepted until the mid-20th century. These days the site commemorates Barringer's pioneering spirit and the crater serves as a valuable scientific and educational resource.

Why is Meteor Crater Important?

The importance of Meteor Crater cannot be overstated. As one of the best-preserved impact craters on the planet, it serves as a natural laboratory for scientists studying cratering and asteroid impacts, which has implications for planetary science and protecting our own planet from future collisions. It's also a stark reminder of the dynamic and sometimes violent nature of the universe.

The crater's state of preservation is such that it offers an almost unparalleled view into the processes that occur during and after an impact. Every ridge, every boulder thrown out during the explosion, can be scrutinized and has been by researchers from NASA, undertaking training here for the Apollo missions to better understand lunar craters. Can you imagine astronauts roaming around this place, envisioning the moon's surface?

Things to Do & See at Meteor Crater

A visit to Meteor Crater is like stepping onto a different planet. Start at the interactive discovery center, which features an array of exhibits related to meteorites, impacts, space, and the crater itself. Visitors can touch and feel a real meteorite fragment—a tangible link to the stars. Don't forget to check out the wide-format theater that features educational movies about space and Meteor Crater's formation.

Our Top Trending United States Tours:

  • All-Inclusive

    San Francisco Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots

    US$449/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Downtown Highlights Private Walking Tour

    US$189/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots

    US$599/pp Learn more

To fully grasp the magnitude of the crater, you'll want to take a walk along the rim trail. The perspectives and panoramic views are extraordinary—you can see the painted desert on a clear day. If you're into photography, the views at sunrise or sunset are simple breathtaking. There are guided tours available, led by knowledgeable guides who unveil the crater's secrets and point out features that you might miss otherwise.

Lastly, for the complete experience, the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the Apollo Test Capsule located on the premises paint a vivid picture of the crater's connection to space exploration history. To stand at the rim, feeling the wind, and knowing the incredible journey that brought us here is both humbling and exhilarating. Whether you're a science enthusiast or just looking for a unique adventure, Meteor Crater won't disappoint. It's a vivid history book, open under the vast skies of Arizona, and each visit reveals a new chapter to explore.

Frequently asked questions

What is Meteor Crater?

Meteor Crater is a well-preserved meteorite impact site located in the northern Arizona desert near Winslow, approximately 180 miles from Phoenix. It is one of the most famous and best-preserved impact sites in the world.

How old is Meteor Crater?

Meteor Crater is estimated to be about 50,000 years old, created during the Pleistocene epoch when a nickel-iron meteorite collided with Earth.

How big is Meteor Crater?

Meteor Crater measures about 3,900 feet in diameter and is approximately 560 feet deep. The rim of the crater rises 150 feet above the surrounding plains.

Can I visit Meteor Crater?

Yes, Meteor Crater is a popular tourist destination and is accessible to visitors. It features an interactive discovery center, an observation deck, and guided tours along the rim.

What facilities are available at Meteor Crater for visitors?

Meteor Crater offers a variety of facilities including a visitor center with interactive exhibits, a widescreen movie theater, a gift shop, and walking trails. There are also educational programs and lookout points for viewing the crater.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Meteor Crater Rd, Winslow, AZ 86047, United States

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps