Capulin National Monument
Rim Trail

Sierra Grande

The Crater Rim Trail is a short but spectacular tour of a dormant volcano. Every step along the rim has views to incredible distances. Far off you can see the Rockies, and nearer you can see several other volcanoes in the surrounding 8,000 square mile volcanic field. If you can stop looking outward, views into the interior of the volcano show the depths of the caldera. This is an amazing drive to an amazing hike.

From the junction of US Hwy 64 and NM-325 in Capulin New Mexico, drive 2.8 miles north to the Capulin National Monument road. Take a right and follow the road 2.1 miles around the volcano to the parking lot near the top. Note that the road to the top of the volcano is closed when the monument is closed. Check the NPS web site for times when the road is open.
You will need to pay an entrance fee to enter the monument. There is a visitor center 0.4 miles after you enter the monument. There are clean restrooms, water, books and other souvenirs available there.
Coordinates for the hike: 36.7825800,-103.9721840
Parking / Trailhead amenities
The parking lot at the trailhead is paved and level and has room for quite a few cars. There is a clean pit toilet, a map board, and several informational signs. The view from the parking lot is spectacular. The rim trail exits directly from the parking lot on the side opposite where the park road enters.
Trail observations
Both the rim and crater trails are paved, and generally are either slanting up or down, often times steeply. There is not a lot of level travel on this trail, nor is there any shade. Take your time - there are plenty of benches and plenty of things to see. Note that the trail is at a fairly high altitude with few windbreaks. If you wear a hat, make sure it's on firmly!
Trail statistics
The trail is 1.33 miles long. The sum of all the uphill climbs is 159 feet.
Trail waypoints
0.00 miTrailheadTrailhead
0.10 miFar offFar, far, view
0.11 miSnow capsSnow capped mountains
0.13 miBench 1Bench
0.32 miBench 2Bench
0.36 miSignSierra Grande Sign
0.36 miSierra GrandeSierra Grande
0.38 miParking viewCrater and parking lot
0.40 miBench 3Bench
0.45 miWindmillWindmill out in the desert
0.45 miBench 4Bench
0.48 miBench 5Bench
0.54 miBench 6Bench
0.61 miBench 7Sign and Bench
0.71 miBench 8Bench
0.85 miBench 9Bench
0.86 miVistaWonderful vista
1.01 miCrater trailHead down the crater trail
1.15 miBottomBottom of the crater
1.33 miEnd of trailEnd of trail
Trail map - Rim Trail
Altitude chart - Rim Trail Bench 1 Bench 2 Sierra Grande Bench 3 Bench 4 Bench 5 Bench 8 Vista Bottom End of trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain : Mountainous
Trail surface: Paved
Type: Loop
View: Open
County: Union County
State: New Mexico
Country: United States of America
National Park Service page
National Park Service safety page
Printable trail map in PDF format (12 Mb download)
Printable trail map in PNG format (3 Mb download)
Waypoints in CSV format
Waypoints in KML format
Instructions on using a trail description page
Instructions on using a trail map printout
Trails in the surrounding area
Area map for Colorado and New Mexico (No additional trails)
Area map for Colorado and New Mexico (No additional trails)
Area map for Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas (No additional trails)