Junction Cave CLOSED for the winter
Junction Cave is now closed to protect hibernating bats that overwinter within. Please help protect our winged relatives by respecting this closure. The cave will reopen for visitation on March 16th, 2014. Other permit-accessible caves remain open.
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 »
History & Culture
At Home in the Badlands
For centuries people have lived around and sometimes in the lava country. Ancient Indian civilizations crossed the lava flows with trail cairns and related to the landscape with stories and ceremony. Spanish empire builders detoured around it and gave it the name used today. Homesteaders settled along its edges and tried to make the desert bloom. The stories of all these people are preserved in the trail cairns, petroglyphs, wall remnants, and other fragments that remain in the backcountry.
Download In The Land of Frozen Fires (PDF) for a more in-depth look at the unique human and cultural history of El Malpais.
Did You Know?
La Vieja seems to have the visage of an elderly woman carved into it. From certain vantage points in El Malpais, La Vieja appears to stand in the lava flows, and may be responsible for the legends of a mission church out on the malpais. More...