One of the most impressive meteor craters in the world is in Arizona. It’s new by scientific standards (5,000 years old) and because Arizona has so little weather, it’s very well preserved. In some parts of the world a meteor could hit and it would just become a lake. But we have so little water, animals, and plants here that this crater looks almost like it did when it was formed.
The meteor crater is just a few minutes from Flagstaff. You take the 40 out of Flagstaff towards Winslow and it comes up on the right in about half an hour. You’ll see the signs.
The visitor center and museum is pretty cool. They have pictures and stats on every meteor impact of note anywhere on earth, and more than you could ever want to know about our own meteor crater.
This is about as close as you can get to outer space without actually leaving the planet. It’s pretty neat to realize you’re standing next to a rock that has travelled through space across all sorts of unknown and possible Star Trek-like stuff.
If you keep on going down the 40 you’ll get to the petrified forest. I didn’t keep going because I’ve been there… and it was not as cool as I hoped. It’s a lot of flat ground and not a tree for miles. There’s some rocks on the ground. I’d stop to see it if I was driving by, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
As for the meteor crater, it’s so close to Flagstaff that it’s a cool thing to do while you’re over there. Make it part of a day trip when you’re tired from hiking. It’s open until 7pm, so it’s easy to fit into a day up north.