Road TripsUnited States

See 5 states from Capulin Volcano, New Mexico

If ever you are on a road trip between Colorado and Texas, Capulin Volcano is a side trip worthy of a few hours. Those who are into geology will enjoy their visit regardless of the weather.

Those who don’t know their a’a from their pahoe’hoe will probably prefer a clear day, when the views from the top of the volcano are spectacular

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Capulin Volcano National Monument

It’s just off highway 64/87 in extreme northeast New Mexico. As National Monuments go, it’s on the smallish side. There is a small visitor’s center, a picnic area, and no campground.

There are a couple of hiking trails near the visitor’s center that explore the lava flows, vents, and other volcanic features.


At the top, a paved one mile trail circumnavigates the rim of the extinct volcano

As you walk this trail on a clear day, there are impressive views from all compass points of the lava flows and other nearby extinct volcanos. Wayside exhibits with panoramic photographs provide information about the surrounding features in the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. You can actually see 5 states from the top: Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

When to visit Capulin Volcano National Monument?

We visited in October and the weather was perfect and we had the place almost to ourselves. We were told that in the summer, traffic access to the volcano summit is restricted since the parking area is small.

There is not much of a town nearby, so it’s probably best to leave some time and energy to get to somewhere with more services for the evening. Capulin Volcano is definitely worth your time if you are in the area, but it’s not really big enough to justify as a vacation destination.

Antelope are commonly seen, sometimes close to the road

Update! Added these snowy winter shots – January 2016.

RTG Helpful Hints

For current details, visit the NPS page for Capulin Volcano.

Trip Dates: October 2012 and January 2016

?  What side trips have you taken that were a nice surprise?

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