Approximately 130 miles from Santa Fe via I25 in the north east corner of the state near Raton Pass (Colorado state border) is the remotely located National Park Service National Monument of Capulin Volcano. New Mexico (the whole state) was a hot bed of volcanic activity and has the evidence clearly obeservable to the discerning eye. When visiting the NPS sites, always take the time to view the short video, and museum which can usually be done in 20 minutes or less. Bathrooms are always nice, heated in winter and clean.
Then launch up the 2 mile drive with great views to the parking area where you begin the 1 mile crater loop or .2 mile walk into the vent area. In January there was only one other car and it was about 1130am. By the time we left an hour or so later there were 5 cars, so it was nice to see without many folks to navigate. The views are just outstanding, we saw no evidence of snow while we were there, so the natural colors of winter in the surrounding areas was just outstanding, Also seeing the lava flow areas (even though covered by some vegetation) is pretty easy if you look for it. The vista out over the parking lot side, where in the distance, there is ample pine and evergreens was very inviting and a place we would like to explore on a future trip. Top height 8,182 feet. WOW! take it slow if you are winded and unused to the elevation.
Fees $5.00 per car; movie, self guided and somewhat strenous one mile walk, windy so take approriate measures depending on the tempature to be comfortable. Small placqards along the way to point out and educate about the view or vegetation on the volcano. what a fantistic way to start our sight seeing trip in New Mexico. Take plenty of photos, as this is one you will want to remember! 1/28/2013
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