Sunset Cone

Elevation: 6,410 ft
Prominence: 460

Find Nearby Peaks

Livingston Douglas pointed out a new development. “Sunset Cone is in a restricted area of Craters of the Moon National Monument. You must obtain a free, 1-day wilderness permit to climb in this area. The permit is available at the Visitor Center. Be sure to carry it with you when you do this climb.” Livingston has also added detailed hiking information for this cone. Updated December 2019


Sunset Cone is Peak #2 of the Craters 10-Pack.


Sunset Cone is located east of Grassy Cone on the North Side of US-20 and across the highway from the Craters of the Moon Visitor Center. It’s a brushy but easy ascent from the highway. USGS Inferno Cone

Sunset Cone as viewed from the parking pullout on US-20, about ¼ mile to the East. Livingston Douglas Photo

Sunset Cone as viewed from the parking pullout on US-20, about ¼ mile to the east. Livingston Douglas Photo

Access by Livingston Douglas

There are two options for parking your vehicle:

  1. There is a gated road at US-20 on the east side of Sunset Cone. This road heads north to a Group Campground. You are not permitted to drive on, or park along, this road. However, there is a large paved parking pullout on the south side of US-20 exactly 0.2 miles northeast of this gated road. For scrambles on the eastern flanks of Sunset Cone, this is your best option.
  2. Park at the Visitor Center and walk along US-20 to the point from which you begin your scramble up Sunset Cone.

Look out for traffic when you cross the highway. Beware of snakes as you work your way up the sagebrush-covered slope. See the GPS track below. Expect great views of the local volcanic wonders, the Pioneer Mountains, the Lost River Range and Big Southern Butte.

Sunset Cone viewed from Grassy Cone.

Sunset Cone as viewed from Grassy Cone.

Here is my GPS track. You can follow it, or find your own route on this gentle cone. Expect great views and watch out for snakes.

Here is my GPS track. You can follow it or find your own route on this gentle cone. Expect great views and watch out for snakes.


East Face and Southeast Face Routes by Livingston Douglas

Date of Climb: May 31, 2019

East Face, Class 2

Access

From the entrance to Craters of the Moon National Monument, drive 0.8 miles E on US-20 to a large, paved pullout on the south side of the highway. The elevation here is 5,845 feet. This pullout is located 0.2 miles northeast of a gated, restricted road on the north side of the highway.

The Climb

From the large parking pullout, walk southwest on US-20 to the gated road on the north side of the highway. Wilderness permit in pocket, walk briefly up this road to reach the base of the Southeast Face. Leave the road and bushwhack west up through thick sagebrush and prickly brush to reach the summit. On the summit, you will find an antenna installation. Sunset Cone also has a USGS Benchmark on its Southeast Face (Sunset BM). There are 2 repeaters up here. There was no summit cairn, so I built a small one.

The summit cairn atop Sunset Cone with the 2 repeaters in the background. Livingston Douglas Photo

The summit cairn atop Sunset Cone with the two repeaters in the background. Livingston Douglas Photo

The USGS BM for Sunset BM on the Southeast Face of Sunset Cone. Livingston Douglas Photo

The USGS “Sunset” Benchmark on the Southeast Face of Sunset Cone. Livingston Douglas Photo

Southeast Face (Descent), Class 2

Access

Same as for the East Face Route

The Descent

From the summit, descend the face southeast to find Sunset Benchmark. It is just above a gravel access road that cuts across the lower section of the Southeast Face. It is marked with a metal post (witness marker) that is visible if you look for it. The actual USGS benchmarks (2 of them) are hidden nearby on the ground in the sagebrush, encased in concrete. After visiting the benchmarks, continue southeast through more sagebrush/bushes to reach the gravel access road. Follow the road northeast back to the main access road. Return to US-20 and walk northeast for 0.2 miles along the highway to the parking pullout.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Snake River Plain

Year Climbed: 2015

Longitude: -113.56389   Latitude: 43.46829

Share this post ...Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

Comments are closed.