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Check out this incredible national park of volcanic proportions: Capulin Volcano National Park!

Capulin Volcano National Park

A Volcanic Landmark

Capulin Volcano National Monument is a well-preserved, relatively young (55,000 to 62,000 years old), symmetrical cinder cone. It rises steeply from the surrounding grassland plains to an elevation of 8,182 feet above sea level. The irregular rim of the crater is about a mile in circumference and the crater about 400 feet deep.

Capulin Volcano is one of the outstanding landmarks located in the northeast corner of New Mexico, where the rolling grasslands meet the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The park’s highest point provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the volcanic field, distant snow-capped mountains, and portions of five states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado).

Capulin Volcano also offers visitors excellent opportunities for observing and understanding volcanic formation. The large volcanic field surrounding the monument contains at least 100 recognizable volcanoes, and aids visitors in gaining insights into 10 million years of the geological history of northern New Mexico.

Things to Do at the Volcano

The 2-mile road that winds from the bottom all the way to the top is what most visitors choose to do. Once the top is reached magnificent views of the surrounding volcano field, Sangre De Cristo mountains, the flora and fauna are visible to visitors. From late June to early August, a phenomenon called “hilltopping” can be seen on the Crater Rim trail. This means thousands upon thousands of ladybugs cover trees and bushes at the top of the volcano! Capulin is also IDA Gold Tier Certified, which means it has one of the darkest night skies in the entire country. Due to low levels of light pollution, incredible views of the Milky Way and constellations are visible.

Milky Way Capulin Volcano

Visitors can hike a variety of different trails located throughout the park. On trail, the Lava Flow trail, is a mile long loop that runs along the southern portion of the park. Another, the Boca Trail, is a 1.7 mile long loop that runs along the western base where hikers can view the collapsed lava tubes that were created thousands of years ago at the foundation of the volcano. There are two different trails accessible from the top of the volcano: the Crater Rim trail which is a one mile loop that goes around the entirety of the rim of the volcano and the Crater Vent trail, which goes 200 yards into the crater itself.

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