Paramore Crater with the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club

In a celebration of spring in the valley and the arrival of the poppies the Portal Rodeo hiking club visited Paramore Crater.  One of several volcanic maar craters, Paramore Crater lies south of the drainage divide separating the San Simon Valley and San Bernardino Valley.  Located on a private ranch, permission was granted by the rancher for the hiking club to travel across the ranch to the base of the crater for this hike.  Covering about 5 miles with only about 400 ft of elevation change, the crater is a spectacular viewing point for spring wild flowers blooming in the San Bernardino Valley.  The surrounding cinder cones in the Geranimo lava field, part of the Boot Heel volcanic field, were carpeted with yellow poppies and bladderpods and the color grew more intense as the day progressed.

Named in honor of James Harrison Parramore, who in partnership with Claiborne Walker Merchant created one of the early ranches in the San Simon Valley the San Simon Cattle and Canal Company, the crater is a result of the interaction between lava rising towards the surface and ground water.  The resulting steam explosion leaves a large circular crater often mistaken for a meteor impact site.   Two other maar craters are found to the southwest of Paramore Crater.  One is similar in size to Paramore Crater while the smaller one is known as Neville Crater.

After an easy walk to the rim of the crater, the group dropped down to the crater bottom and crossed the crater to the east making their way through head high native grasses.  After visiting the main drainage into the crater and viewing the old dam on the southeast corner, the hiking club climbed up the southern lip stopping for lunch.  Exposures of the underlying basalt held inclusions of obsidian and eroded obsidian was visible on the trail along the south rim.  Evidence of early habitation was also found along this southern lip and included chipping and flaking, some hand scrappers and a broken metate.  The route of this hike may be found on the hiking page or here.

Topographic map of Paramore Crater

Point cloud of Paramore Crater from the interactive Photosynth Flying Below Ground Level

Hiking with Poppies
Ghost in the Grassland


  1. I really like your 360 degree photosynth that you created it's just amazing!

  2. Thank you. The second image above is the a representation of the data used to create the photosynth. I'm just as impressed with the data (point cloud) as the actual photosynth.

  3. You are really just remarkable doing everything!

  4. Thank you, but it is no more than anyone else who chooses to live here does. And that's the fun part, we are free to create whatever we want with our own hands.

  5. Now I am infamous!
    signed..........the Ghost

  6. Not infamous, just recorded out enjoying hiking in the malpai borderlands.