Road Trip | Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulin volcOn my way down to Austin, I decided I needed to make some road trip like stops along the way to break up the long drives. So I looked up what there was to see between Denver and Austin. The answer: not a lot. The drive for the most part isn’t too boring, so you won’t go too crazy. Though, I never want to hear someone complain to me again about driving across South Dakota. Clearly they haven’t been to the panhandle of Texas, or Oklahoma, Kansas or Nebraska. Anyway, one of the two things to see was Capulin Volcano in New Mexico.

Capulin Vocano

Capulin Vocano

I will admit that I am a bit of a geology geek. I really enjoy learning about the formation of the earth’s surface, volcanoes, rocks, etc. This place is a perfect hour pit stop if you are also into that kind of thing. You can stop in the visitor’s center and get some background info or just head up the to the top of the cone. (The drive up made me a bit nervous, no guards, steep drop off, windy road.)

The drop off of the the road

The drop off of the the road

There is a one mile trail at the top that circumnavigates the crater rim and a trail that leads to the center of the volcano. From the rim you can see the landscape all around you and the results of the volcanic activity that took place all those years ago.  One of the most interesting facts to me was that the huge mesas that make up the surrounding landscape are lava flows that did not erode while the surrounding, softer land did.  I will leave you with that fact and let you enjoy the pictures instead.

At the lowest part of the rim

At the lowest part of the rim

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View into the vent

Panoramic from the vent

Panoramic from the vent

Lava Flows

Lava Flows

Sierra Grande- Largest volcano of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. Rippled landscape in foreground formed by hot lava moving below cooled surface lava.

Sierra Grande- Largest volcano of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. Rippled landscape in foreground formed by hot lava moving below cooled surface lava.

The trail is pretty easy but steep in spots. Flip flops not advised.

The trail is pretty easy but steep in spots. Flip flops not advised.

View from the vent- the high side of the rim is due to the wind blowing the ash to one side.

View from the vent- the high side of the rim is due to the wind blowing the ash to one side.

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Lava rivers stand above the landscape

View from the rim

View from the rim

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