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Killbourne Hole Volcanic Crater

Kilbourne Hole, one of the most interesting geological formations in the Las Cruces–El Paso area, is a volcanic maar formed from a 24,000–yr old volcanic explosion.

If you're a rock hound, you'll love Kilbourne Hole. It's treasure trove of multiple textures and colors of volcanic rock.

Kilbourne Hole is quite frankly in the middle of nowhere, some 30 miles southwest of Las Cruces in the Chihuahua desert. There is no cell phone service (last I checked). If you have a high clearance or 4WD vehicle, please let us know and help us carpool. Kilbourne Hole is accessible by 2WD vehicle but we will need to mind sandy spots. Because of this, it is important your RSVP is accurate. Please do not show up without RSVPing, and please do not say you are coming and no show.

DISTANCE is ~8 mi round-trip, around the crater, and probably dive into the center of the crater too.

ELEVATION GAIN is the hole itself is some 800 feet deep. Walking around the crater, the elevation change is negligible.

FEES: None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!

DURATION: Finish by early/mid afternoon.

PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Bring a muzzle (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash), and if you'd like to unleash, ask others before you do so. Warning: the volcanic rock is very, very rough on your pets feet.

SKILL LEVEL is reasonably beginner friendly, if you are walking around the crater. Going into the crater requires light rock scrambling.

TERRAIN is sand and volcanic rock.

WEATHER: The weatherman says it's going to be a beautiful early spring day, with high in the mid 70s, sunny, and wind down. But you can take that with a grain of salt if you like.

AFTERWARDS we'll see.

MEET for carpool at:

• Las Cruces: 7:00 am, in/outside Milagro Coffee at Pan Am Plaza. See map (OpenStreetMap or Google Maps).

• El Paso: 7:45 am, in the southwest corner of Carls Jr parking lot at Artcraft and Interstate 10. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)

The Crusans will meet the Pasoans at Carls Jr. and caravan to Kilbourne Hole.

DIRECTIONS to Killbourne Hole from Carls Jr (thanks Timmy!), in case you decide to do the silly thing and not follow the caravan:

• From Carls Jr (7910 Artcraft Rd.), turn left onto 178/136/Artcraft Rd.)

• Go 6.66 mi to Airport Rd. (at the red light, turn right onto Airport)

• Go 0.25 mi, turn left onto Industrial Rd.

• Go 0.44 mi, turn right onto County Road A017 (dirt road)

• Go 8 mi to stop sign, turn right.

• Go 0.1 mi, turn left.

• Go 3.3 mi, turn left (just past the pit of black rocks on the left hand side) onto County Road A011 (sign most likely missing)

• Go 8.3 mi where there is another main dirt road going left, with a minor dirt road to the right. Turn right.

• Go 0.1 mi and you should see the crater directly in front of you.

MORE information:

• Kilbourne Hole at the BLM


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  • A former member
    A former member

    Great Day at Killbourne with adventuresome folks admiring the green sparkly rocks, avoiding rattlesnakes and getting some fresh air.

    2 · March 23, 2014

  • Joe

    Fun hike. Thanx

    March 23, 2014

  • allen d.

    Loved scrambling over the volcanic rock. I could have done without the sand on the way back, LOL

    March 22, 2014

    • jody M.

      EXACTLY how I felt!

      March 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was awesome, great people and a panoramic view!

    March 22, 2014

  • jody M.

    Steve, this was a lot of fun! Thanks, and I'll see y'all tomorrow.

    March 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good Morning, I am from El Paso, It was to dark and didn't find the Milagro Coffee, maybe next time :(

    March 22, 2014

    • Timmy

      Ummm the meetup for the people from El Paso is in El Paso soooo why did you drive to LC just to drive back to El Paso? 745 everyone is meeting at the carls jr on Artcraft in El Paso

      March 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      opps sorry :) didn't read the directions right !

      March 22, 2014

  • Timmy

    just got home from driving the route...it is doable by car...still suggest higher clearance vehicles due to some debris on the road in a few places. Also found that A017 is blocked due construction at the rail yard so we will bypass airport and industrial and remain on artcraft/178/136 until the red light past airport road then turn right. The bypass route is paved and merges with A017 before the stop sign mentioned on the original directions. A011 has a new street sign so it is now marked.

    March 21, 2014

  • allen d.

    Steve, I am coming from El Paso, and will meet you at Carls Jr. I will need a ride with someone, as my Mazda 3 is not suitable for the roads. ;-)

    March 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm in the same situation. Willing to pay gas!

      March 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    would love to go, but you are too far away. Too much water between Holland and New Mexico. :-)

    March 21, 2014

  • Timmy

    UPDATE to go with the directions....From Carls Jr (7910 Artcraft Rd) turn left onto 178/136/artcraft rd. Go 6.66 miles to Airport Rd (red light turn Right onto Airport.
    Go .25 miles turn Left onto Industrial Road.
    Go .44 miles turn Right into A017 (dirt road).
    Go 8 miles to stop sign turn Right go .1 mile turn Left.
    Go 3.3 miles turn Left (just past the pit of black rocks on the left hand side) onto A011 (sign most likely missing)
    Go apx 8.3 miles where there is another main dirt road going left with a minor dirt road to the right....turn right...go apx .1 mile should see the crater directly in front of you.

    If I have a chance I will drive out there and mark A011 and the parking turn off.

    4 · March 18, 2014

    • Samat

      Thanks for the very precise directions! Included them in the main event post above

      March 19, 2014

    • Timmy

      the distance was done google earth so it should be pretty close over all. I drove it for you guys last year ad gave the distance off what my truck said but I can't find it so this will have to do.

      March 20, 2014

  • renee s.

    Sorry I have to cancel. Steve thanks for organizing these events. See you Sunday.

    March 20, 2014

  • Timmy

    Yubao those directions go much better with the maps sent you then by itself. I will try to find you the distances from one point to the next, but if you can find a way to post the maps I gave you I would help

    1 · March 18, 2014

    • Yubao

      I haven't figured out the way to post your map yet, all because you are calling me retard all the time :(

      March 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, I am confused cause I am not from here. I live in El Paso and I would like to attend. Is there someone from here that can explain to me how can I join the group?

    March 18, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      thanks

      March 18, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks, see you on Saturday... well, not you since you are not going.

      March 18, 2014

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