The Pisgah Crater is the youngest cinder cone in the Lavic Lake Volcanic Field and it last erupted about 2,000 years ago. Because the arid desert environmental conditions have a natural way of preserving geological landmarks, this volcanic area looks as if it was just created yesterday. Shiny hardened black lava flows meander all over the Mojave Desert expanse and the shapes are interesting to see. There are foot trails that go to unique features that include hidden lava tube caves and a few more old cinder cones, so plenty of time can be spent at this landmark without getting bored. The main attraction definitely is Pisgah Crater, which towers above the desert floor. Climbing to the top of the old cinder cone will reveal mesmerizing panoramic views, so be sure to take on this easy climb while there!
Pisgah Crater is located on old historic Rout 66 a few miles east of Ludlow. Barstow is the nearest place to stock up and local lodging is limited near the crater, so camping on public lands or in the neighboring Mojave National Preserve is best if spending some extra time is in the plans. The paved access road to the crater is deteriorating, but an average passenger car will be able to handle the bumpy ride. The road goes uphill over the cinders onto level ground at an old mill site, which is a good place to park. The entire back half of the Pisgah Crater cinder cone has been mined in the past and the remnants of the industrial site remain, so care must be taken around the dilapidated structures.
Exploring a volcanic field is good entertainment for the entire family and a lot can be learned from the experience. The Lavic Lake Volcanic Field is one of the easiest natural areas to access in the west, but there will be quite a bit of hiking involved if the lava tube caves are on the to do list. For this reason, the cool weather seasons are best for visiting Pisgah Crater, since the summer temperatures are scorching hot in the region. Be sure to chalk Pisgah Crater high on the list when touring old Route 66 in southern California, because this is one lesser known natural attraction that you simply do not want to miss!
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