Get Your FREE Ultimate Weekend Packing Cheat Sheet!

cover picture of the meteor crater in arizona
Picture of Anna Marie

Anna Marie

Visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona

Visiting Meteor Crater in northern Arizona provides an unforgettable glimpse into the world's best preserved and first proven meteorite impact site. PullOverandLetMeOut will take you there to learn about Arizona's other big hole in the ground.
A woman sipping coffee outside
Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

Visiting Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, officially known as Meteor Crater & Barringer Space Museum, was not something I had my heart set on when planning our itinerary. However, once we realized we would be driving right past it on our way from Winslow to Sedona, we immediately added it to our itinerary. Largely overshadowed by the other enormous hole in the ground, the Grand Canyon, this crater, nearly a mile across and more than half a mile deep, was created about 50,000 years ago and has an incredible story worth stopping to hear and is an itinerary worthy stop when traveling through northern Arizona.

Meteor Crater in Arizona
Formed about 50,000 years ago, Meteor Crater is approximately thirty minutes east of Flagstaff.

Experience the Impact!

The statistics and facts surrounding how this crater came to be is pretty amazing. According to what we learned on our visit, Meteor Crater was created about 50,000 years ago when a meteor traveling somewhere around 26,000 miles per hour, passed through the earth’s atmosphere, and in a cataclysmic explosive force greater than twenty million tons of dynamite, crashed into the earth. 

Flash forward to the twenty-first century, and guests are invited to experience the impact at what is known as the “Best Preserved Meteorite Impact Site on Earth!” Follow the signs on I-40  about 30 miles east of Flagstaff and 25 miles west of Winslow to this historic and incredible impact site where the earth’s terrain closely resembles the moon’s surface and was even used as a training site for the Apollo astronauts. 

Interactive Discovery Center at Meteor Crater
The Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center

The Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center

The visit to the crater begins at the Interactive Discovery Center which is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm 364 days a year. The center houses an array of exhibits that will intrigue visitors of any age and boasts hands-on interactive displays that let guests take a deep dive into the history of the crater. Guests can also learn other fascinating facts like how to identify the difference between asteroids, comets, meteors, meteoroids, and, meteorites. This is an educational experience!

In addition to the engaging interactive self-guided tour of the museum, there are also three lookout points from the rim, the Astronaut Wall of Fame and NASA test capsule, an indoor crater viewing area, a gift shop and rock shop, and a Subway restaurant onsite.

For our visit, we made it a point to take in the movie, IMPACT! The Mystery of Meteor Crater. Shown on the big screen in the 80-seat theater with surround sound, the movie does an outstanding job of conveying the story of the meteor and is the perfect introduction to experiencing and touring the rim of this massive impact site.

a sample meteor in a museum
The Meteor Crater Interactive Discovery Center has many interactive displays and exhibits.

Exploring on Your Own

There are three lookout points on the rim that are relatively easy to get to and explore on your own. We could venture down to the “covered” viewing area while waiting for the next film showing. 

The views are breathtaking. We were blown away by the size and vastness of the crater and the wind. 🙂  

a covered viewing area at Meteor Crater in Arizona
One of the viewing areas at Meteor Crater in Arizona
a man looking at the Meteor Crater in Arizona
Enjoy the views of Meteor Crater
PullOver Pro Tip picture

During its formation, over 175 million tons of limestone and sandstone were abruptly thrown out to form a continuous blanket of debris surrounding the crater for a distance of over a mile. Large blocks of limestone, the size of small houses, were heaved onto the rim.

Taking the Guided Tour

While we enjoyed all of the exhibits and the film, it was the guided tour that really brought home to us the massive scale of the impact and the significance of the fiery meteor that created this magnificent crater. Our guide Jeremy did an outstanding job of educating us and captivating our attention with his extensive knowledge and expertise. He also did a great job of setting expectations for our time along the rim.

The terrain is rugged and extremely windy. Walking the rim isn’t for the faint of heart and may be too challenging for those who are unsteady on their feet. Nonetheless, if you’re up for it, I highly suggest, weather permitting, taking the tour. They do cancel the tour if the weather is bad or the winds are too high, but if tours are running, it’s definitely worth while.

a tour guide at the meteor crater
Our guide, Jeremy, leads visitors along the rim while imparting key facts about the crater.

Tips for Visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona

Visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona is an educational experience that is perfect for an array of travelers from families, solo travelers, and groups. The Discovery Center offers guests more than twenty-five interactive exhibits and multiple places to view the crater. Walking the terrain can be challenging so hiking shoes or sturdy athletic shoes are suggested.

It is windy at the crater. That being said, hats while they’re great for shielding the sun, can be difficult to keep on the head when the wind kicks up. As Jeremy told us, they’ve lost many hats to the bottom of the crater, so be forewarned.  Also, our visit was in late April and the weather was fairly cool; wearing layers is always a good idea in this part of the state because the weather is changeable.

Additionally, the guided tour along the rim can be difficult to navigate, our guide strongly advised those who were not up to walking on such rugged and rocky ground to turn back. Several people heeded his warning, and after perseverence, I agree. If you have any doubts about your footing, don’t do it.

a space capsule
Meteor Crater's terrain is so similar to the moon's surface, NASA made it an official training site for astronauts.

Parting Thoughts

Visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona was an unexpected itinerary extra we hadn’t anticipated prior to our arrival. Having spent some time here exploring, I am glad we added it to our itinerary.

The visitors’ center is impressive and we enjoyed the self-guided nature of exploring the museum as well as the movie. The gift shop is also impressive in size and the amount of items it offers visitors. 

They have a variety of general admission ticket prices ranging from $18 to $27 depending on age and military status. Active military personnel can enter for free with a valid ID and tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door.

An added bonus for RV travelers, it is Big-Rig friendly. Meteor Crater RV Park is close to the visitors’ center, which makes it a wonderful place to pull up and spend a night if you’re traveling through the area. It also offers excellent views of the San Francisco Peaks in the distance.

While the Grand Canyon was the “main attraction” of our trip to Arizona, discovering this lesser-known hole in the ground proved to be a travel bonus. Maybe visiting a big hole in the ground isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it had a huge impact on us!

view on the other side of the meteor crater
There is ample parking and it is Big-Rig friendly.

Listen on the go!

0:00 / 0:00
Visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona

Hey, Pinners! Pin this for later!

Meteor Crater in Arizona

► Plan Your Trip to Meteor Crater Now!


It makes it simple to plan your trip.   We’ve pre-filled the destination from the article and if there are multiple places mentioned in the article, we’ve put the one that is best used as your base to see all of the places mentioned.

Just select I’M STAYING and enter the travel dates and hit SEARCH.  It automatically uses the first place in the article.  

For a multi-day trip, if you stay near that location, you should be able to use it as your base.

Super simple.  Just click on the pencil and enter the name of any place mentioned in the story.  Or you can enter any address or even the name of a company if you are mixing business and pleasure.

Just click I’M DRIVING and you can see how long it will take, get driving directions and even rent a car if you need one.

Yes, we guarantee the best published rates on hotels.  Click on the link for BEST RATE 110% GUARANTEE for details.

Share your experiences  

Hey pinners, save this for pinning after your trip

After you get back from your trip, please use these images to post to social media or post your own photos.  Please tag us on your post #pulloverandletmeout
You can also use the social sharing links on the SmartTrip tool.
Paws for Purple Hearts logo

More great travel stories you'll love reading!

Cover photo two pints of Guinness

What You Need to Know Before You Order That Pint of Guinness

Few beverages are as closely linked to a location as Guinness is to Ireland. Rich in heritage, the creamy dark stout is a daily staple at pubs and bars across Ireland and the world. Travel along with Pull Over and Let Me Out to the Emerald Isle and learn what you need to know before you order that pint of Guinness.

Read More »

Let’s Get Social!
Click below and join the conversation on social media

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

FREE Access to Exclusive Travel Tips and Deals

Get the latest travel news, tips & information from!

Save on Membership with


don't leave empty-handed

Get your FREE Ultimate Weekend Packing Cheat Sheet

Happy Travels