Off the Beaten Path: Amboy Crater


After my first deployment to the Persian Gulf in 1980, I wanted to get as far away from the ocean as possible. I spent 10 months deployed and most of that time at sea. Including 71 days without a port visit.

So I headed to the Mojave desert. and came upon a giant crater. Amboy Crater is a dormant volcano in the middle of large lava field in the eastern Mojave desert.

Amboy Crater, Mojave Desert.

It’s about 75 miles (120 km) equidistant from Barstow, CA  to the west and Needles, CA to the east, and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of U.S. Route 66, near the town of Amboy, population 5.

Me and a Navy buddy, who I will visit in Alaska this year, climbed to the top of the crater and marveled at the expanse of desert before us and into the void of the crater below.

Almost like looking at the vast emptiness of ocean, instead this was desert.

Alec Rosen standing atop Amber Crater 1981

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