Lunar Landscape
between Camp Verde and Cottonwood

On a 35-acre tract of land between Camp Verde and Cottonwood, Apollo astronauts found a suitable place to train as they prepared for their historic trips to the moon. The story began in late 1969 when NASA concluded that its Cinder Lakes Crater Field outside of Flagstaff was unsuitable once the snow began to fly. Searching for a new training site, they came upon a broad alluvial plane washed down from the Black Hills. NASA eventually turned it into a reproduction of Fra Mauro, the lunar landing site for the ill-fated Apollo 13. It was later used for the Apollo 14 crew as well as a testing site for the lunar rover. Today the remnants of those craters are slowly filling with sediments and small forests of young mesquite trees.