Capulin Volcano National Monument
46 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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