Merriam and Sheba Craters

Stop 3


Directions - Continue north on Schnebly Hill Road. At I-17, go north toward Flagstaff. Take I-40 east about 8 miles to the Winona Exit, #211. Go north to Leupp Road and take Leupp Road NE 12 miles until you find yourself between two obvious cinder cones.

Sheba Crater is on the right and Merriam Crater on the left. Roads to each are obvious. The Merriam Crater road is about 1 mile NE of the Sheba turnoff. Follow the dirt road and you will loop around the north side of the Merriam. No matter which one you visit, PARK but do NOT try to drive up. Walkers are welcome. You'll be rewarded with a GREAT VIEW of the lava flow that emerged from the base of this cone. Both craters provide an excellent view of the Little Colorado River Valley.

Leupp, just a few miles further, was the site of one of the WWII Japanese internment camps. As a child, I helped dismember these buildings since Dad had some great ideas how we could use the bricks. They were sold at 5 and 8 cents each.

Background - The ash from this area has been dated at 150,000 years. (Nations, multiple) The ground surface is covered by scoria (cinders) and any rainfall percolates quickly since there is little soil.

This is a good place to discuss the trade-offs in extractive activities. Is it 'proper' or wise to destroy these craters so we can make cinder blocks, roads, or decorate our yards? Can science decide what is best? Do these decisions come from science or from our own personal values? What are the limits of science?


1. A view of Merriam Crater from Sheba. Both are cinder cones of recent origin.
2. Though hang gliders launch from these two hills, the winds can be VERY strong.
3. Hang onto your hats!
4. Note the two mines below.


Introduction | Verde Salt Mine | Schnebly Hill | Overnight | Grand Falls | Montezuma's Well