Is there public access for hiking or what not in the Meteor Crater in Arizona?

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  • 1
    Well...... meteorcrater.com
    – PeteCon
    Apr 19, 2019 at 14:14
  • 3
    Do you mean public in the sense that anyone can purchase a ticket and walk around it, or do you mean public in that anyone can just rock up (ha pun intended) and climb down it? What is the goal in your question?
    – Mikey
    Apr 19, 2019 at 18:07
  • 1
    My wife and I went many years ago. It seemed expensive before we went, but we agreed well worth it. Apr 20, 2019 at 1:56
  • Not exactly public access, but you can catch a glimpse in Public Television... youtu.be/6QgNpYg0IOU?t=1438
    – uhoh
    May 30, 2019 at 15:50

4 Answers 4


The company that owns the crater notes that there are guided rim walks and a few separate lookout points from which you can see the crater. However, it doesn't appear to be possible to walk around on your own. Access to the floor of the crater is not allowed, according to a representative of the company on TripAdvisor:

Thank you very much for your inquiry. Our guests may not walk down into the crater for a couple of specific reasons. One is that scientific research is conducted at the Meteor Crater on a regular basis so it is very important to maintain the integrity of the Crater basin. The other reason is to ensure the safety of our guests.

We do have guided rim tours (weather permitting) that are conducted by our knowledgeable, friendly rim tour guides. I would encourage you to make time to take a guided rim tour - you will not be disappointed.

We appreciate your inquiry!

Best regards,

The Team at Meteor Crater

Similar posts from a company representative are found on this TripAdvisor post and this TripAdvisor post as well.

It is unclear, from what I've been able to find online, whether you can walk around the rim on your own or whether you must take part in a guided tour. It is also unclear how far around the crater these tours (and trails) go, though the clues I've found online make me suspect that it's prohibited to go all the way around without special permission.

  • Is it possible that the company doesn't own all of the crater? I've tried researching this on Arizona's public land map but couldn't find a conclusive answer.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 19, 2019 at 22:23
  • @JonathanReez: I suspect, from the history, that it's still all privately owned. From Wikipedia, Barringer was granted a land patent of an entire section (1 square mile) centered on the crater in 1903. The entire crater is less than 3/4 mile across, so it looks like the original land patent contained the entire crater. His heirs are in charge of the crater today, so unless they sold off some of the land, they still own it all. Apr 20, 2019 at 13:03
  • When we took the standard docent-lead rim tour some years ago, it covered an estimated 1/10 to 1/8 of the crater's rim. You can actually see the path on the satellite picture above. It is the whitish line extending along the rim to the left of the visitor center. We had never been to a crater before and thought it was worthwhile taking the tour. As I recall the visitor center was pretty informative and the docent knowledgeable. No regrets regarding the money spent.
    – njuffa
    Apr 21, 2019 at 2:39

It's not public in the sense that you can just walk there wherever you want. The crater is owned by a private company, which operates a visitor center and guided tours for a fee. It looks on Google Maps as if the crater itself is also fenced.

  • It helps if you say opening hours are 8am-5pm daily (except Christmas, -1pm on Thanksgiving). 5pm sounds like a very early closing time, esp. in summer. Public places in the US are generally open till around sunset or shortly after.
    – smci
    Apr 19, 2019 at 15:39
  • Thanks for the answer. But Michael Seifert has a similar answer, but with more detail. Apr 19, 2019 at 20:00

No there isn't.

The entry price is 18 $ and there is no other way to visit the crater.



But @rmaddy posted a link to an excellent albeit somewhat niche alternative

Failing that, you can get quite a good overall feel from the viewing platform.
ALBUM -> Here's an album of photos [or bit.ly/rm_meteorcrater or http:// bit.ly/rm_meteorcrater] ] that I took in 2003 with a then topline 7Hi 'bridge camera'. Despite it's now passe 5 Mp resolution it gives a good impression. (You need a facebook account to view these. Until recently facebook provided a means to provide a link that non-account holders could use. Sadly that feature vanished in March 2019 - whether intentionally or as a result of FB spaghetti bowl programming- as happens). If anyone who is wise enough not to have a FB account desperately wants to see these I could post a copy on Googlephotos.

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Editors: Please leave the url shortener alone. This gives me a count of number of people who view the album (and NO ip details) and shows me if my efforts are worthwhile. If you remove that it makes it less likely that I will be bothered in future to take the effort to make an album to address a question. Bitly links have not broken over the last 10+ years I've been using them - if they break it's because the album has gone. Add a + at the end of the URL if you want to check source. A direct URL is hardly safer as an anti-spam measure.

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