• Sweeping panoramic views of lava flows, cinder cones, and distant mountains can be enjoyed at Sandstone Bluffs.

    El Malpais

    National Monument New Mexico

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  • Junction Cave NOW OPEN!

    Junction Cave is again OPEN for visitation. Get your free caving permit at either the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at i-40/Exit 85 in Grants, or at the Information Center on NM53.

  • Cave permits now available for selected park caves

    FREE mandatory cave permits are now available to visit specific caves in El Malpais. Permits can be obtained at the El Malpais Information Center on NM Highway 53 or at the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at I-40/Exit 85. More »

Curriculum Materials

A naturalists guides students in observing a prairie dog colony at El Malpais.

A naturalist guides students in using binoculars to observe a prairie dog colony at El Malpais.


Malpais Mysteries!

This curriculum guide is aimed at the 4th grade level, but can be adapted as needed for most elementary level instruction. Click on the title below to download the document.

Malpais Mysteries (22.4 Mb pdf)


Activity Sheets

These documents can be printed on clear material and used as transparencies, or color printed on paper to explain the forces of volcanism.

The Fire Triangle (41 Kb pdf)

Lava Tube Formation (55 Kb pdf)

Life in the dark (29 Kb pdf)

Volcano Formation (45 Kb pdf)

Aa Lava (104 Kb pdf)

Pahoehoe Lava (77 Kb pdf)

Pyroclastic Flows (56 Kb pdf)

Did You Know?

Rough aa lava can be found near Cerro Rendija

Two distinct kinds of lava can be found in the varied flows of El Malpais. Lava is known by names from the Hawaiian Islands. Aa lava is clumpy and forms numerous irregular chunks, while pahoehoe lava cools to form smooth surfaces often covered with ropy textures. More...