Kilbourne Hole/Aden Crater Volcanoes
Las Cruces, NM
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Kilbourne Hole is a Maar volcanic crater, located 30 miles west of the Franklin Mountains. The crater is thought to be 80,000 years old. The hole is over a mile wide, and over 300 feet deep. Cell phones are out of range here.
FROM EL PASO:
Directions: Take I-10 to exit 8, Artcraft Rd./Paseo Del Norte. Turn WEST (away from the Franklin Mountains) and travel 6.6 miles to traffic light at Airport Rd. Turn right and drive 1.3 miles to desert road (County Road A-17?) on left that runs behind the War Eagles Museum. Turn left and travel along railroad 5 1/2 miles to crossing. Turn left and cross tracks to stop at, what we’ll call, “Intersection A.”
FOR PHILLIP’S HOLE (a Maar): From Intersection A, go straight for 7+ miles. Take turn-off to right. Phillips Hole about 1/2 mile in.
FOR HUNT’S HOLE (a Maar): From Intersection A, go straight for 10 miles. Road begins to undulate for 1 to 1 1/2 miles as it passes over lava flow from Aden’s Crater. Then, take turn-off to right: travel a few hundred feet to rim of Hunt’s Hole.
FOR KILBOURNE HOLE (a Maar): Turn right at Intersection A and travel along railroad 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): Turn right at Intersection A 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. Drive 4 1/2 miles to left fork, then 1 more mile to left turn. Go as far as you can up lava flow, park, lock vehicle, and walk the remaining “lava road”, then path, up and into the crater.
ATTENTION: Construction of a huge new miles-long railroad siding (completion 2015?) may temporarily alter the route. Use “dead reckoning” in such a case.
WARNINGS: High-clearance vehicles are recommended, especially for Aden Crater. Go slow over cattle gaps and lava flows to avoid losing control and/or damaging your vehicle. Drive sensibly for the conditions.