Meteor Crater is the site of a 50,000 year old well preserved meteor strike in northern Arizona. The location is 6 miles south of Interstate 40 about 35 miles east of Flagstaff. The Meteor Crater is a privately owned site and in 2011 charges a $15 entry fee.
Over 175 million tons of limestone and sandstone were ejected and now form a blanket around the impact site for over a mile. Some geological material that should be at the bottom of the crater was lifted and deposited at the rim, providing important evidence that this was an impact site and not an extinct volcano, as was originally thought.
The dry climate here is mainly responsible for the excellent preservation of the crater and how easy this site is to view. The geology layers here are familiar to hikers who have visited the Grand Canyon. The formations that were impacted here include the Coconino, Toroweap, Kaibab, and Moenkoepi.
Mining Engineer Daniel Barringer was one of the early believers that this was an impact site and was eventually proved correct. Though an iron mine here was not feasible, the Barringer Family has maintained the site as a public trust.
Part of the museum includes a small comfortable theater where a 10 minute video is shown. After the video, an interpretive guide conducted a 20 minute presentation at the lowest level outdoor view point where there is some shade and some benches.
I visited on a sunny early September afternoon for about 1.5 hours. The parking area was about 30% full. The viewing was uncrowded and comfortable.