Kilbourne Hole


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.

Once we get to Kilbourne Hole, we will split into two groups: one walking the Jeep road around the crater, and one descending into the crater. Interest permitting we may have a group that does both.

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 not show up.

From the meeting points in Las Cruces, we'll carpool to El Paso, figure out carpool again, and then head out to Killbourne Hole via the Santa Teresa airport.

DISTANCE is ~7 mi round-trip, around the crater. Perhaps ½ mile, if that, to the bottom of the crater.

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: Sand and volcanic rock. There are "trails" but plan for being mostly off trail.

WEATHER is sunny (85°F) and breezy (25 mph). Check the point weather forecast from the NWS for the weather at the crater itself. (

ROAD CONDITIONS: after Santa Teresa, we'll be on rough, washboarded and sandy unpaved road. High ground clearance is not needed, nor is 4WD, but because of the sand AWD/4WD is highly recommended.

AFTERWARDS we'll see. Perhaps an afternoon at one of the wineries along Highway 28?

MEET for carpool at:

• Las Cruces: 7:15 am, in/outside Milagro Coffee at Pan Am Plaza. Open at 6:30 am on the weekends, the coffee, breakfast burritos, and bagels (fresh on the weekends) are all good here. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps (,-106.745122&z=18), OpenStreetMap (, USGS topo map (,-106.745122&marker0=32.287339,-106.745122&z=18))
• El Paso: 8:00 am, at the Whataburger at the El Paso Outlet Mall. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps (,-106.58384&z=16), OpenStreetMap (, USGS topo map (,-106.58384&marker0=31.91173,-106.58384&z=16))

MORE information:

• Kilbourne Hole at the BLM (