Distance: 0.2 miles (one way)
Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall
Last hiked: 2016 February
The Aa Flow Trail (not a typo – pronounced: AH-ah) is a quick and easy 0.2 miles round trip. It starts at the same parking area as the Lenox Crater Trailhead, and then weaves through a lava field from one end of the parking area to the other.
Find a trailhead at either end of the parking lot, then begin following the well-marked trail. The Aa Flow Trail winds you through a gnarled and rocky lava flow where young quaking aspen and ponderosa pine trees have begun to take root and are in the long process of converting lava to soil. Along the way are a staggering amount of amazing lava rock formations, as well as dramatic views of Sunset Crater to the east crammed into turn after turn of the short trail. A large cliff of lava abuts the trail for a short stretch before veering away.
Whether you’re short on time, or you want to add a little more walking to your day, the Aa Trail is easily worth the meager 0.2 miles.
From the Sunset Crater National Monument Visitor Center, head east on the main loop road for 1.25 miles until you see a parking area on the left. Pull in there and look for trail signs pointing you down either end of the parking lot.