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Lunar Crater Back Country Byway
Geologic Sightseeing > Lunar Crater Back Country Byway (NV) 
75 miles east of Tonopah, Nevada.
Meandering among the bold volcanic features of the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field, the 24-mile byway follows an unpaved road through terrain characteristic of the Great Basin desert. Maars, cinder cones, mesas, cuestas, ash flows, lava flows, fault ridges, and alkali playas can be viewed along the route.
From Tonopah, travel 75 miles east along U.S. Highway 6. The byway forms a loop bisected by U.S. Highway 6, and is marked by signs at its eastern and western entrances along the highway. 
Visitor Activities
Geologic sightseeing, hiking, picnicking, scenic drives, and off-highway driving. Although there is no wild horse and burro population within the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field, one might glimpse these animals along the way, as the Sand Springs West Herd Management Area is located on the north side of U.S. Highway 6.
Special Features
Lunar Crater, Easy Chair Crater, The Wall, Black Rock Lava Flow, Lunar Lake, and Palisade Mesa are some of the dominant landscape features that are visible from the byway. Lunar Crater, a bowl-shaped depression almost devoid of vegetation, looks more like a meteor-impact crater than what it is: a volcanic cinder cone that has collapsed in upon itself. In 1973, Lunar Crater was recognized as an outstanding example of the nation’s natural heritage and designated as a National Natural Landmark.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
No fees. 
Limited to existing roads.
Camping and Lodging
No developed camping facilities are available. Primitive camping is subject to a 14-day stay limit. The site is accessible to RVs; however, no RV facilities are available. The nearest lodging is in Tonopah and in Ely, 90 miles east of the site on U.S. Highway 6.
Food and Supplies
No potable water, food, supplies, toilets, or services are available on-site. Food and supplies are available in Tonopah and Ely.
First Aid
There is no first aid available on-site. Medical clinics are located in Tonopah and Ely.
Additional Information
Late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times to travel the byway. The area is open all year, but the byway receives minimal maintenance and can become impassable during wet or snowy weather. High-clearance vehicles are recommended.
Contact Information
BLM - Tonopah Field Office
P.O. Box 911
Tonopah, NV 89049-0911   
Tel: (775) 482-7800             

Lunar Crater Back Country Byway

Lunar Crater Photo

Once used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a training ground for Apollo astronauts, the eerie moonscape of Lunar Crater Volcanic Field covers more than 100 square miles. (Chris Ross, BLM Nevada State Office)

Last updated: 10-23-2009