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 »
Fire restrictions now in effect!
Stage 2 fire restrictions are now in effect at El Malpais. No smoking except within a vehicle, and no campfires or charcoal fires anywhere in the monument. 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?
There are no trails at Sandstone Bluffs in El Malpais, but plenty of hiking opportunities exist for the route finder. Wandering the rim will reveal many hoodoos, rock formations, and natural arches. More...