El Malpais National Monument



El Malpais Nation Monument is a park devoted to volcanism. It's an area of cinder cone volcanos, massive lava flows and lava tube caves. One can obtain free permits to do some caving in the Monument's lava tubes. The Monument is surrounded by wilderness and conservation areas that have the best hiking and ATV trails, but there are some nice (short) hikes that can be accessed from NM State Roads 53 and 117. There's a lot of flora and fauna to see in addition to the volcanic features.



Park Sign


View from Sandstone Bluffs Overlook


El Malpais National Monument

View of Mount Taylor
from Sandstone Bluffs overlook

Tinaja (large water-filled pothole)
Sandstone Bluffs overlook


Old windmill and corral along NM 117


The Narrows Trail

The Narrow Trails (Narrows Rim Trail) is 6.6 miles out and back. It's dog-friendly and rated as a moderate hike, although I would rate it easy. Lots of terrific scenery and flora along the way.


Narrows trailhead parking lot
View from Narrows Trail


Terrain along southern portion of Narrows Trail

Lava flow along NM 117
View from Narrows Trail


Middle part of Narrows Trail


Desert Hackberry?

NM State Hwy 117
View from Narrows Trail

Prickly Pear "pears" (fruit)
(the things that look kind of like radishes)


Rabbitbrush (Chamisa)


La Ventana Arch
View from Narrows Trail

La Ventana Arch parking lot
View from Narrows Trail

Lava Field (Mount Taylor in distance)
View from Narrows Trail


"Dead Wood"


El Calderon Trail

The El Calderon trailhead is located off of NM 53. This is a short but interesting hike that ends a the El Calderon volcano caldera.



Bat Cave


El Calderon Trail


Aa Basalt Lava


El Calderon Caldera


View from atop El Calderon


Ancient lava flow


Pine trees among lava

Plateau Fence Lizard
(Sceloporus tristichus)


Ancient lava flow


Lava Flow


Basalt lava


Basalt Lava


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