This epic crater is full of finely ground, bright red sand and looks like it’s a scene from another planet. John and I were so excited to get there.
Even though our friends told us about it, it was one of the more difficult places for us to find on our trip.
The first place we messed up was going to the wrong trailhead. Instead of following our All Trails app which had the directions for the trail to follow, I put The Cosmic Ashtray into my Google Maps GPS and it led us to a spot more North of the crater.
Luckily, we had cell phone service at this trailhead and were able to look at the map and see there was another path from where we were. Little did we know, there wasn’t much of a trail. Instead, this turned out to be a bit of walking around, up, and over hills, searching for waypoints and our final destination.
The rocks were very smooth and mesmerizing. They were created by a layering process of volcanic rocks piling atop each other for millions of years. We walked among them for miles looking out onto the horizon and hundreds of more miles of rocks. We were baffled by the beauty.
Fortunately, it was a cloudy day, because the trail is extremely exposed with very few trees on hot, desert rocks. *A word of warning: we brought our dog with us, and we eventually had to put shoes on her, because she got very hot on the way back. She also would not have been able to make it out of the ashtray, so we had to take turns holding her back.*
We walked for miles constantly checking our maps to make sure our bearing was correct. We didn’t see anyone the entire time we were wandering which was super cool. Finally, after many, many hills, we arrived at the ashtray about two hours after leaving the trailhead.
You can try to follow the same “path” we followed on All Trails here. I recommend downloading the maps and staying LOW at the rock hill bases!
When we walked up to the rim of the ashtray, we were welcomed with faces full of sand. Big gusts of wind started shooting sand up at us and pelting us in the face but, boy, was the sight unbelievable.
The crater is gigantic. We had no idea when we walked over the final ridge that we were on the edge of the rim. Then, as we walked over and braced ourselves against the wind, we looked over the rim down onto the pit of bright orange sand. We walked around the rim and meandered our way down into the actual pit itself.
It felt as if we were in an otherworldly place.
We took turns using the hand holds down onto the sand and running and kicking around in the sand dune. We, of course, got up close and personal with the rock inside the dune, but didn’t stay long because the sand was still relentlessly whirling around.
We took pictures and videos, but sadly couldn’t fly our drone because of the wind. We withstood as much as we could of the sand hitting us before we started making the journey back.
We were still in wonder of the beautiful surroundings but quickly hiked back, because it started to get hotter as the afternoon went on. After we made it back to the car, we thought about how freaking cool the ashtray had been, and the fact that it was hard to find made it even cooler. We only saw two other couples while we were there!
See more from our entire hike up to The Cosmic Ashtray in my video below!
See more from the rest of our Utah Memorial Day Road Trip!
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!