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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Capulin Volcano National Monument



Sixty thousand years ago, a volcano erupted in northeastern New Mexico. Today visitors can drive to the top of the conical formation and look down into what was once a mass of gaseous lava that cooled quickly. Today the crater is filled with vegetation. As you look over the crater, you see mountains in the distance. As you look the opposite direction, prairie grasslands reach as far as the eye can see.

Pronghorn Antelope
The drive to the top is definitely a mountain road that winds its way to 8,182 feet above sea level. The views are fabulous and if you're lucky, you might spot some of the deer and other animals that inhabit the national monument grounds. Just before we entered the park, fortune blessed us with a sighting of several pronghorn antelope - definitely a highlight for me.

We visited in mid-March when just a hint of spring filled the air. I would love to go back when the spring flowers are in full bloom.


Five trails offer various levels of difficulty and different views including the Greater Vent Trail that leads to the bottom of the crater.  The lava flows cover more than fifteen square miles and are best viewed from the crater rim. The volcano is extinct and, therefore, in no danger of erupting again.

Located off Hwy 67 between Raton and the Texas border, the Capulin (cap-poo-LEEN) Volcano National Monument is definitely worth a stop.

Just a note - at the time of our visit, the visitors center was closed for renovation. A temporary center and restrooms (porta potties) serve visitors during this time.



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