Grand Canyon Road Trip from Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Meteor Crater is located in Northern Arizona about 35 miles east of Flagstaff, AZ a few hours drive from the South Rim, making it a good stop on a Grand Canyon road trip. Meteor Crater is not actually a park run by a government agency, since the area is located on private land.  This site was formed for the visitation and study of the world’s best-preserved meteorite impact site, and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967.  Meteor Crater is open to the public for a fee, and has all the facilities you’ll find at a park. The Admission Fee for Meteor Crater is $15 for adults with discounts for seniors and children.  This includes visitation of three viewpoints, the collisions and impacts movie, and weather permitting a guided walk. There is also a subway, gift shop and an RV campground all with reasonable prices. If you're traveling to the Grand Canyon, including a visit to Meteor Crater is a great addition to your trip. Read the guide below to learn more about travel from Meteor Crater to the Grand Canyon, or check out our Meteor Crater area map to see all the nearby destinations and attractions.

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Travel Information, Tours and Lodging

Driving Distance from Meteor Crater, AZ to Grand Canyon

  • Meteor Crater to Grand Canyon North Rim is 237 miles, a 4 hour drive.
  • Meteor Crater to Grand Canyon East Rim is 154 miles, a 2 hour 30-minute drive.
  • Meteor Crater to Grand Canyon South Rim is 130 miles, a 2 hour drive.
  • Meteor Crater to Grand Canyon West Rim is 259 miles, a 4-hour drive.

Meteor Crater, AZ Tours and Attractions

The most popular activity at Meteor Crater is of course, viewing the crater.  There are viewing platforms for you to enjoy the view on your own, as well as guided walks.  Inside the visitor center there is a popular movie on impacts that is included with your admission fee, as well an interactive discovery center. To learn more about Meteor Crater check out their website. There are also some great recommended tours nearby that are great activities to add to your trip.

Best Hotels near Meteor Crater 

There are no hotels located at Meteor Crater, but there is an RV park.  For additional accommodations check out some popular nearby hotels below or read our guide on Flagstaff, AZ which has a lot of options for hotels, campground and RV parks.  Winslow AZ, also has several lodging and camping options, or you’re close enough to stay at a Grand Canyon hotel.

Area Car Rental Options

Meteor Crater Car Rentals: No car rental agencies are available at Meteor Crater.  There are car rentals available in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and other nearby cities.

Meteor Crater Shuttles: There are no shuttles to Meteor Crater

Closest Airports to Meteor Crater

The majority of visitors traveling to Meteor Crater fly into Phoenix International airport, which is about a 3-hour drive.  Flagstaff, AZ is a half hour west of Meteor Crater, and also has a small airport with daily flights, although the cost is typically quite a bit higher than Phoenix.

Best Restaurants and Dining Options

The only food option at Meteor Crater is Subway that is located on site.  Flagstaff and Winslow are the closest towns with more food and drink options.

Weather and Climate

Like most of this area Spring and Fall have the most pleasant weather, but there are indoor viewing areas for those hot summer days, or cool winter temperatures. Meteor Crater is a desert environment with low levels of precipitation, and is characterized by hot summers, mild winters with little snowfall, and very pleasant spring and fall seasons.

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Tours and Activities near Meteor Crater

Grand Canyon Tour from Flagstaff or Sedona

Grand Canyon Tour from Flagstaff or Sedona

Duration: 11 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $185 on Viator

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Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Duration: 8.5 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $208 on Get your guide

Book Now

Grand Canyon Railway Train Tickets

Grand Canyon Railway Train Tickets

Duration: 8 hours
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
from $124 on Viator

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Grand Canyon South Rim Helicopter Flight

45-minute GSouth Rim Helicopter Flight

Duration: 45 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $279 on Viator

Book Now

Popular hotels near Meteor Crater

Learn More About Meteor Crater

With an annual visitation of about 250,000 people, Meteor Crater is a popular destination for tourists passing through Arizona or headed to Grand Canyon’s South Rim.  Many of its visitors are just making a quick stop off Interstate 40, but for those interested in meteorite impacts it doesn’t get much better than this. 

Environment of Meteor Crater: Originally thought to be of volcanic origin Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact site that is 2.4 miles in circumference and 550 feet deep.  This same impact also caused inverted topography, where the geologic layers were overturned and inverted above the rim of the crater stacked up in an order that is the opposite of how they normally occur.  Geologic layers found in the crater are Coconino Sandstone, and the Toroweap, Kaibab and Moenkopi formations which are found in their expected layers within the crater. Unless another meteorite impacts the area biggest danger at Meteor Crater is the summer heat.  It is very important to stay hydrated, wear sun block and get out of the sun when the temperature is just too hot.  Although you probably won’t see one there are rattlesnakes so be aware.

Meteor Crater Plants and Animals: Meteor Crater is fairly void of life.  Flora includes mostly sage, blackbrush, and cacti.  Wildlife in the crater is composed of several species of reptiles, as well as small mammals.

Meteor Crater Culture and History: The impact at Meteor Crater happened about 50,000 years ago.  Europeans first discovered the crater in the 1800’s and an exploration by the USGS deemed it a volcanic steam explosion.  It was actually a mining engineer and businessman named Daniel Barringer that first suggested it was an impact site and hoped to strike it rich by finding large deposits of iron ore left behind by the meteorite.  It was not until the 1960’s that Barringer's hypothesis that this was an impact site was confirmed.  Unfortunately for Barringer, only his theory about the impact was correct, the iron had all been vaporized leaving only a big hole.

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