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Capulin Volcano National Monument

About Alan's Star-Ratings46 Volcano Rd.
Capulin, NM 88414
Phone: (505) 278-2201 

Interstate 25 is the major north/south route through the state. The monument is located 33 miles east of Interstate 25 at Raton, NM, via US Highway 64/87. The park entrance is on New Mexico Highway 325, 3 miles north of the town of Capulin which is at the junction of NM Hwy 325 and US Hwy 64/87.

Mammoths, giant bison, and short-faced bears witnessed the earthquakes and firework-like explosions which hurled molten rock thousands of feet into the air. Approximately 60,000 years ago, the rain of cooling cinders formed Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, rising more than 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape.

A 2-mile paved road to the top of the volcano and paved trails into the crater and around its rim provide access to explore the volcano.

Between 58,000 to 62,000 years ago, just yesterday on the clock of geologic time, the scene near Capulin would have been one of fire, ash, glowing lava, and ear-shattering explosions.

Capulin Volcano formed during the most recent period of activity in the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. The cone rises more than 1,000 feet above the plains to 8,182 feet above sea level and consists chiefly of loose cinders, ash, and other rock debris. These materials were ejected during successive eruptions and fell back upon the vent, piling up to form the conical mountain. The symmetry of Capulin Volcano was preserved because lava did not flow from the main crater but from secondary vents located at the western base of the cone.

Evidence of the other episodes of activity can be seen in nearly 100 nearby volcanic peaks and lava capped mesas. The largest of these volcanic peaks is the Sierra Grande, an extinct volcano rising some 2,200 feet above the surrounding plain, about 10 miles to the southeast. The largest lava flow is Johnson Mesa, 14 miles long and 7 miles wide, to the west of Capulin.

A picnic area with tables, grills, restrooms and trash containers is open all year, although the restrooms are closed from mid-October until May.

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