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Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy

(Published on - 4/7/2022 4:28:05 PM)

Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy

Did you know every astronaut who walked on the Moon trained in Flagstaff?

Now you can walk in their footsteps. Recently Flagstaff celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of humankind’s grandest achievements – Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the Moon on July 20, 1969, and the Apollo Moon Missions. Over the ensuing three years, 11 other people walked on and explored the Moon. This was possible only with years of preparation, in which many milestones occurred in the Flagstaff area including astronaut science training, instrument development and lunar mapping.

Listed below are 8 locations you can visit for your own lunar experience and to learn more!

In Flagstaff:

Flagstaff Visitor Center

1 E. Route 66 / 928-213-2951

Stop in for area information, official Lunar Legacy souvenirs, Lunar Landmarks Passport, and selfie opportunity with a life-size astronaut.


Lowell Observatory

1400 W. Mars Hill Rd. / 928-774-3358

Guided campus tours with telescope viewing, exhibits and special Lunar Legacy programs. Geologists and Apollo astronauts studied the Moon through Lowell’s telescopes.


Cinder Lake Crater Field

Call ahead or visit the Flagstaff Ranger Station for approved access/tour information. 5075 Hwy 89 / 928-526-0866 / 4WD vehicles required

Take a guided tour of this simulated lunar landscape of craters created with explosives by the USGS in 1967. The field was used extensively for astronaut field training and Lunar Rover Vehicle simulator testing.


U.S. Geological Survey Astrology Science Center

2255 N. Gemini Dr. / 928-556-7000

Location for early Moon mapping and lunar science. See one of the remaining Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) simulators on exhibit in the lobby. 

1-Hour or Less Drive Time:


Meteor Crater

42 miles east of Flagstaff, I-40 at Exit 233 / 928-289-5898  (50 minutes)

Experience one of the best preserved meteor impact craters on Earth, and see how this unique mile-wide geologic feature was a perfect site to prepare the astronauts for landing on the surface of the Moon.


Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

18 miles north of Flagstaff, Hwy 89 / 928-526-0502  (30 minutes)

This 900 year-old volcanic landscape was a frequent astronaut field training and equipment testing site. 

1-1/2 Hour Drive Time:


Grand Canyon National Park

81 miles north of Flagstaff via Hwys 180 and 64 / 928-638-7888

Often described as Earth’s greatest geologic showcase, the Canyon served as a spectacular site for the astronaut’s field training in geology.


Other Exhibits/Programs:


Museum of Northern Arizona

3101 N. Fort Valley Rd. / 928-774-5211

Tour the entire region in one stop, from the geology of the Grand Canyon to where the dinosaurs once roamed.




Source: Flagstaff’s Lunar Landmarks Trail Map & Passport,

Celebrating Flagstaff’s Scientific Role in the Apollo Moon Missions



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