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BLM>New Mexico>Outdoor Recreation>Las Cruces Recreation>Kilbourne Hole Volcanic Crater
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Kilbourne Hole Volcanic Crater National Natural Landmark


A remnant of an ancient volcanic explosion, Kilbourne Hole was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975. This crater can be found in a desert basin between the Potrillo Mountains and the Rio Grande in southern Dona Ana County. Kilbourne Hole is roughly elliptical in shape, and is known as a Maar — a pit or depression caused by a volcanic explosion with little material emitted except volcanic gas. The crater is between 24,000 and 100,000 years old, and measures 1.7 miles long by well over a mile across, and is hundreds of feet deep.

Kilbourne Hole has many unique minerals remaining from the eruption. The crusts of the Kilbourne Hole volcanic bombs — objects blown from the volcanic vent in a near plastic state — are dull black or brown, but when broken open they often reveal a brilliant, sparkling yellow and green interior of olivine glass granules.

Activities
Hiking, geologic interpretation.

Facilities
None. Restrooms and drinking water are not available.

Location / Access
From Interstate 25 take the Vado Exit (10 miles south of Las Cruces) and NM 227 west 3 miles to NM 28. Take NM28 south (left) 2 miles to Dona Ana County Road (CR) B008. Take CR B008 west (right) 11 miles to Dona Ana CR B004 and turn south (left). Drive 6½ miles to railroad tracks. Turn left and cross railroad. Turn west (right) on Dona Ana CR A017 and drive for 7 miles to Dona Ana CR A011. Turn west (right) and proceed 8 miles to Kilbourne Hole. Kilbourne Hole is on the right, past the big tan dirt bank.


Kilbourne Hole Volcanic Crater

Hiking/Backpacking Scenic Geology

Fees
None.

Season/Hours
Open year-round.

Recreation Guidelines
BLM Recreation Guidelines

Special Rules
Do not drive off the roads in this area. Most of the bottom of the hole is private property. It is also very easy to get stuck in soft sand near Kilbourne Hole.

Maps
BLM: El Paso
See Contact Information below to obtain maps or visit the Public Lands Information Center.

Contact Information
Las Cruces District Office
1800 Marquess Street
Las Cruces, NM  88005-3370
575.525.4300