Kilbourne Hole Volcanic Crater


A remnant of an ancient volcanic explosion, Kilbourne Hole was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975. This crater can be found in a desert basin between the Potrillo Mountains and the Rio Grande in southern Dona Ana County. Kilbourne Hole is roughly elliptical in shape, and is known as a Maar ¿ a pit or depression caused by a volcanic explosion with little material emitted except volcanic gas. The crater is between 24,000 and 100,000 years old, and measures 1.7 miles long by well over a mile across, and is hundreds of feet deep. Kilbourne Hole has many unique minerals remaining from the eruption. The crusts of the Kilbourne Hole volcanic bombs ¿ objects blown from the volcanic vent in a near plastic state ¿ are dull black or brown, but when broken open they often reveal a brilliant, sparkling yellow and green interior of olivine glass granules.


From Interstate 25 take the Vado Exit (10 miles south of Las Cruces) and NM 227 west 3 miles to NM 28. Take NM28 south (left) 2 miles to Dona Ana County Road (CR) B008. Take CR B008 west (right) 11 miles to Dona Ana CR B004 and turn south (left). Drive 6¿ miles to railroad tracks. Turn left and cross railroad. Turn west (right) on Dona Ana CR A017 and drive for 7 miles to Dona Ana CR A011. Turn west (right) and proceed 8 miles to Kilbourne Hole. Kilbourne Hole is on the right, past the big tan dirt bank.


(575) 525-4300



Las Cruces District Office 1800 Marquess Street Las Cruces, NM 88005-3370




BLM - Bureau of Land Management

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Currently Viewing Kilbourne Hole Volcanic Crater