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Needles Field Office

Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark

Amboy Crater surrounded by wildflowers January 2008.  BLM Photo

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, Amboy Crater was recognized for its visual and geological significance. Although Amboy Crater is not unique, it is an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone.

The inside of the 250' high crater contains two lava dams behind which has formed small lava lakes. These are now flat in general appearance, covered with light colored clay, creating the impression of miniature "dry lakes." There is a breach on the west side of the crater where basaltic lava poured out over a vast area. Beyond the crater lies 24 square miles of lava flow containing such features as lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones and massive flows of basalt.



Link for Educators and Students

Portions of Historic Route 66 are temporarily closed for repairs

Route 66 from Ludlow to Kelbaker Road is now open.  Kelbaker Road to 140 at Mountain Spring Road remains closed.

Follow the San Bernardino County Road Department's repair work on Route 66

Amboy Crater is OPEN and may be accessed from the south by taking Amboy Road to Route 66 and from the north by taking Kelbaker Road to Route 66.  Historic Route 66 is open between Kelbaker and Amboy Crater.

Sand Verbena wildflowers. BLM Photo

If the rainfall has been adequate, the spring months from March to May can bring desert wildflowers! Blankets of desert primrose and sand verbena provide an excellent area for photography. The unique landscapes found at Amboy Crater have attracted the filming and research industry.

Sand Verbena wildflowers growing in the lava flows.  BLM Photo
Amboy use area.  Vault toilet and shaded picnic tables.  BLM Photo

Link to Amboy Brochure


  Printable Brochure 

As a result of increased visitation to Amboy Crater, the Needles Field Office established a day use site. The entrance road to the parking area has been improved to provide access for all vehicles. ADA accessible shaded and un-shaded picnic tables and restrooms are available as well as a shaded crater viewing platform and desert safety, interpretive and trail information.  Large groups should park in the group parking area. The Needles Field Office is encouraging educational groups and organizations to contact the office prior to their trip to ensure parking is available.

Enjoy a panoramic view from the rim of 250 ft. high Amboy Crater of the surrounding desert.

Funny Bytes Amboy Video




  Link to Hike Map

Things to know before you go:
  • During summer months or windy conditions, hiking to the rim is not recommended.
  • There is an old scar on the face of the crater where many people hiked or tried to drive ATV's up the crater. This is not a trail and is DANGEROUS. Please do not use.
  • Remember to bring a hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes and plenty of water.
  • Watch out for snakes and other desert wildlife along the trail.
  • Please practice Leave No Trace principles during your visit.

    Link to Safety on Public Lands

Bureau of Land Management
Needles Field Office
1303 S Highway 95
Needles, CA 92363
Phone: (760) 326-7000
Fax: (760) 326-7099
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email