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 (,-106.745166&aq=&sll=32.304328,-106.770802&sspn=0.057166,0.086174&ie=UTF8&ll=32.28755,-106.745288&spn=0.014929,0.021544&t=h&z=16)).

• El Paso: 7:45 am, in the southwest corner of Carls Jr parking lot at Artcraft and Interstate 10. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (,-106.58385) (see on Google Maps (,-106.58385&z=18), OpenStreetMap (, USGS topo map (,-106.58385&marker0=31.88206,-106.58385&z=18))

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 (