Kilbournes Hole Loop is a 7.6 mile loop trail located near La Mesa, NM and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Hike around a volcanic gas bubble (Maar) sink hole From the start point, choose a direction and start hiking. I prefer counter-clockwise, but either way is good. You can follow the roads and trails around, or make your own trail as you explore. Kilboume's Hole is the remnant of a volcanic explosion crater in southern New Mexico. This crater is situated in a desert basin between the Potrillo (Po-tree-yo) Mountains to the west, the Rio Grande River to the east, and approximately 20 miles southwest of Las Cruces. Kilborne's Hole is roughly elliptical in shape measuring about 1.7 miles long by well over a mile across and hundreds of feet deep. The edge of the crater contains older basaltic lava, which was intruded by the volcanic explosion with pyroclastic ash deposits more than 100 feet high covering the basalt. Kilbourne's Hole has no classic volcanic features such as a cinder cone or dome-shaped lava structure. It is technically called a maar; which is a pit or depression caused by a volcanic explosion.
Kilbourne Hole is the remainder of what science call a "maar" volcano. A maar volcano is formed when an explosion occurs in presence of groundwater that comes into contact with hot lava or magma forming a relatively shallow crater. This time we had the opportunity to hike around the rim of this incredible place. To describe how to get there may be confusing, better bring a map with directions of the area. If you follow the correct dirt country roads to get there, that they are in excellent shape, you will not have trouble finding the hole. We have to mention that this time we encountered a few problems, not serious, due to the rainy season. Once there, you will walk around the rim of the crater using a well marked sandy road that will bring you back full circle. Walk close to the rim and you will not have any problem to go back where you started. Stop and take frequent looks to the hole and contemplate its beauty.
Amazing hole! Wishing I'd had more time to go to the bottom. We hiked around the rim and enjoyed the views. The trail is very sandy and it's full of devil's claws. Be prepared to go over a barbed wire fence to complete the loop. In places, the trail disappears completely. The brush isn't terribly thick so it's easy to work your way toward the start point. Start early because it gets hot fast!