Capulin Volcano National Monument - Capulin, New Mexico
A Geological Wonder in Northeast New Mexico
If you're rushing through from Texas to the
Colorado Rocky Mountains on
U.S. Highway 87 (or vice versa), then I understand why you would not want to stop at Capulin Volcano National Monument. In fact, this was my situation
while traveling from Ackerly, Texas to
Buena Vista, Colorado in a day. Also, I'll admit that Capulin Mountain doesn't look very large or interesting
from the road.
But, having said all that, I did tour the park and I'm really glad I did.
The Capulin Volcano site has nice hiking trails and wonderful scenery up top. Also, you can learn
about how this mountain was once a mad and fiery volcano. My suggestion is if you're spending any prolonged time
hiking, camping or vacationing around Raton, New Mexico; Trinidad, Colorado; or
Black Mesa, Oklahoma,
then you ought to visit Capulin Volcano National Monument.
The road cut that travels up Capulin Mountain (left), now an extinct volcano.
February 25, 2014 - As of the date of this writing, admission is $5. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You have to come down from the
upper parking lot at 4:30 p.m., so schedule accordingly if you plan a prolonged afternoon visit.
The one road that leads to the visitor center and crater rim.
Nice and scenic drive through the side of the mountain. It reminded me just a bit of the
Pikes Peak Highway.
Arrival at the crater rim.
Now I'm not a geology expert, but this is no ordinary mountain. At the end of the road, you're near the top of the mountain, but then there's a big crater in the middle that you can hike down to.
The gray rocky area in the bottom right was where this volcano shot its lava out.
Crater Vent Trail
The Crater Vent Trail is an easy 0.2 mile hike to the center of the volcano. You can
tell that the rocks have a unique color and texture that was related to the volcanic eruption.
As always, you can click any of my images to the left to view them at a larger size. I liked what this information about volcanic plumbing.