USGS/CVO Logo, click to link to National USGS Website
 Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, Washington
Visit A Volcano

Capulin Cinder Cone, New Mexico
Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulin Cinder Cone

Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, stands more than 1,200 feet above the surrounding High Plains of northeastern New Mexico. The volcano is long extinct, and today the forested slopes provide habitat for mule deer, wild turkey, black bear and other wildlife. Abundant displays of wildflowers bloom on the mountain each summer. A 2-mile paved road spiraling to the volcano rim makes Capulin Volcano one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world. Trails leading around the rim and to the bottom of the crater allow a rare opportunity to easily explore a volcano.

Capulin Volcano erupted approximately 60,000 years ago with firework-like "rooster tails" of glowing hot cinders that flew through the air. Lava that flowed from vents located at the volcano's flank covered almost 16 square miles. Although no longer a volcano in action, Capulin Volcano remains a dramatic testament to the volcanic processes that shaped northeastern New Mexico. Capulin Volcano National Monument was established in 1916 to preserve this striking example of a volcanic cinder cone.

The Crater Rim Trail is one mile and the Crater Vent Trail is 0.2 miles. The Lava Flow Trail at the base of the volcano is one mile.

Excerpts courtesy of: U.S. National Park Service - Capulin Volcano National Monument Website, 1998

For More National Monument Information

Click on logo to link to Capulin Volcano National Monument Website

Link to: Capulin Volcano National Monument Website

Capulin Volcano National Monument,
P.O. Box 40,
Capulin, New Mexico 88414
(505) 278-2201

"Climb A Volcano"

Have you ever wanted to walk into a volcano?

Well, Capulin Volcano is one of the few places in the world where you can do that. A 3-kilometer (2-mile) road spirals to the summit, ending at a parking area, where two self-guiding trails begin. One trail, 0.3 kilometers (0.2 miles) long, goes down to the bottom of the crater to the vent and gives you an unusual opportunity to see the inside of a volcanic mountain. The second is the Crater Rim Trail, 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) long, a self-guiding path that follows the rim all the way around. The trail begins with a moderate climb, but once on the rim you will find the going fairly easy until you begin the descent to the parking lot. From the trail, you can also look out over the land through which the "Cimarron Cut-Off" of the Santa Fe Trail passed. During the late-19th century, wagon trains bound for Fort Union traveled this route. The view westward is particularly magnificent. The majestic, snowcapped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains form a mighty backdrop to the wide expanse of rangeland, broken by volcanic hills and mesas. Be sure to hike both trails. It's not often that you can walk so brazenly in a volcano.

From: U.S. National Park Service Website, Geology Fieldnotes - Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico, April 2000

Map, Capulin Cinder Cone

To Get There
If traveling by car, the monument is located 33 miles east of Raton, New Mexico, via U. S. Highway 64/87 and 58 miles west of Clayton, New Mexico, via the same highway. The park entrance is off New Mexico Highway 325, 3 miles north of the town of Capulin. Interstate 25 connects Raton with Denver, Colorado, from the north, and Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, from the south.

The Volcano Road, which leads to the rim, is approximately two miles long. Trailers, towed vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians are prohibited because the road is narrow and has no shoulders. The road is closed after park hours. Snow, ice accumulation, and/or severe thunderstorms can also close the Volcano Road. Current road conditions are available by calling monument headquarters.

-- Excerpts courtesy of: U.S. National Park Service - Capulin Volcano National Monument Website, 1998

Location Map

Map, click to enlarge

Location of Capulin Volcano National Monument
-- Modified from: U.S. National Park Service, 1999

Useful Links

For More Information
Click button for Capulin Cinder Cone Menu Capulin Cinder Cone Menu

Return to:
[Capulin Volcano Menu] ...
[New Mexico Volcanoes and Volcanics Menu]
[Climb A Volcano Menu] ...
[Visit A Volcano Menu] ...

CVO HomePage Volcanoes of the World Menu Mount St. Helens Menu Living With Volcanoes Menu Publications and Reports Menu Volcano Monitoring Menu Servers and Useful Sites Menu Volcano Hazards Menu Research and Projects Menu Educational Outreach Menu Hazards, Features, and Terminology Menu Maps and Graphics Menu CVO Photo Archives Menu Conversion Tables CVO Index - Search Our Site ButtonBar

URL for CVO HomePage is: <>
URL for this page is: <>
If you have questions or comments please contact: <>
04/15/08, Lyn Topinka