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Kilbourne Hole/Aden Crater Volcanoes
Photograph by Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument

In the Chihuahuan Desert, 10 to 30 miles northwest of El Paso and the Franklin Mountains, are the remains of volcanoes and maars thought to be some 80,000 years old. A volcano is known to spew steam, gas, and molten rock (lava), which flows out from the opening. A maar is void of lava, blowing only steam and gas into the atmosphere. Phillip’s Hole, Hunt’s Hole, and milewide, 300 foot-deep Kilbourne Hole, are maars. Adan Crater is a volcano. *Directions from El Paso & Las Cruces:* Take I-10 to Texas exit 8, Artcraft Rd./Paseo Del Norte. Turn WEST (away from the Franklin Mountains) and travel along TX178, then NM136, for 8 miles to the fifth traffic light, Strauss Rd, just beyond the railroad overpass. Turn right onto Strauss Road. From traffic light, travel along Strauss Road. At the 5.9 mile-mark, you will pass the entrance to the railroad’s Santa Teresa Intermodal Terminal, beyond which the road becomes gravel. Continue on to the T-intersection at the 10.3 mile-mark, County Rd. A-20, called Intersection A. For Philips Hole (a Maar): At “Intersection A,” turn left and follow road for additional 7+ miles. Take turn-off to right. Phillips Hole is about 1/2 mile in. for Hunt's Hole (a Maar): For Hunt's Hoole at “Intersection A,” turn left and follow road for additional 10 miles. Road begins to undulate for 1 to 1 1/2 miles as it passes over lava flow from Aden's Crater. Beyond undulations, take turn-off to right: travel a few hundred feet to rim of Hunt's Hole. For Kilbourne Hole (a Maar): At “Intersection A,” turn right and proceed a few hundred feet to anintersection. Turn left and travel along railroad for 3.1 miles. Just beyond road-materials dump on left,turn left. Drive 9 miles. The raised rim of Kilbourne Hole will become evident off to the right. Pull in,park, lock vehicle. The climb up cinder side of rim is very arduous! There is a lower rim farther west. For Aden Crater (a Volcano): At “Intersection A,” turn right and proceed a few hundred feet to an intersection. Turn left and travel along railroad for 20 miles to the second lava flow, where the road narrows to one lane. Less than 1/4 mile past the flow, turn left onto what is little more than a primitive two-track driveway. Always keeping the lava flow on your left, drive 4 1/2 miles to left fork, then 1 more mile to left turn. Drive as far as you can up lava flow, park, lock vehicle, and walk the remaining "lava road", then path, up and into the crater. WARNINGS: High-clearance vehicles arerecommended, especially for Aden Crater.

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