This Old Campsite
This Old Campsite
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Have you ever wanted to walk around the rim of a volcano or perhaps walk down into the cone of a volcano? Well you can if you visit the Capulin Volcano National Monument.

The Capulin Volcano National Monument is located in Capulin, New Mexico on Highway 87 between Clayton, NM and Raton, NM. The volcano can be seen for miles as you travel down the highway. It is a cinder cone volcano and has a very distinct conical shape. Capulin Volcano rises over 1300 feet above the plains to an elevation of 8182 feet. There is a road that starts at the base and winds for about two miles around the volcano to a parking lot at the west face of the cinder cone. The road is a narrow two lane road with steep drop offs and no guard rail. Tour buses are allowed to make the trip to the top but when they do, the road is closed to other traffic until the bus is either at the top or at the bottom. Rvs, regardless of length, are not allowed to take the road up.

So if you can't drive your RV up the volcano, how do you make the trip? You have to do it in either your tow vehicle or in the vehicle that you are towing unless of course you are on a road trip in your car. There is a nice but small RV park in Capulin, NM, which is only three miles south of the volcano. We stayed there on our last visit to Capulin Volcano. On one of our other visits to the volcano, we stayed in Raton, NM, which is about 30 miles from Capulin, at the Raton KOA and did a day trip out to the volcano. There is also a RV park in Clayton, NM about 58 miles east of Capulin. If you are on a road trip and wish to visit the volcano, you can just stop on the way since it only takes a couple of hours to see what needs to be seen.

There is an information center at the entrance of the monument. Here you can take some time to learn about how the volcano was formed as well as the period in which it erupted. You will find that the Capulin Volcano is a part of the Raton-Clayton volcanic field that covers an area of 8000 square miles. You will also learn that a cinder cone volcano like Capulin, typically only is active once in its life time. It is highly unlikely that Capulin will ever erupt again but that doesn�t rule out the possibility of another cinder cone developing in the area.

There is no camping at the Capulin Volcano National Monument. However, there is picnicking available as well as hiking and bird watching. There is a picnic area at the base of the volcano with a picnic tables and restrooms. There are several hiking trails available with only one being labeled strenuous. The two most popular are the ones at the top of the volcano. Crater vent trail is .2 miles long one way and descends about 105 feet to the bottom of the crater and the plugged vent hole. Crater rim trail allows you to walk around the entire rim of Capulin Volcano. The beginning and end of this 1 mile trail is fairly steep but the remainder of the trail has only moderate ups and downs. From the crater rim you have some wonderful views of other extinct volcanoes in the Raton-Clayton volcano field. From the top you can look down and see how the lava flowed away from the Capulin Volcano. On a clear day from the highest point on the volcano you can see Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma.

After the volcanic lava turned to soil over thousands of years, an abundance of vegetation took hold on the mountain. Along with the vegetation came numerous species of animals, birds, bugs and insects. The most curious of the bugs are the Ladybugs that swarm on the park plants in the summer months. The Ladybugs are absolutely everywhere! There are so many you might think there is a plague, but there isn't.

The Capulin Volcano National Park is open all year. The only days that they are closed are Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
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