Experience an Extreme Land

The primeval black basalt terrain of El Malpais was created by volcanic forces over the past million years. Molten lava spread out over the high desert from dozens of eruptions to create cinder cones, shield volcanos, collapses, trenches, caves, and other eerie formations. This stark landscape preserves one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanism on the planet.


Hikers head out near Sandstone Bluffs.

Things to do

Whether you have an hour or a week, there's plenty to do here. Choose from scenic drives, overlooks, easy walks, or strenuous treks.

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Caves are a world of wonder under your feet!


Explore some of El Malpais' lava tube caves by getting your FREE caving permit!

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La Ventana Arch is in the BLM's El Malpais National Conservation Area.

Nearby Attractions

Surrounding public lands offer recreation, camping, and scenery. Historic pueblos, colonial villages, and Route 66 are regional highlights.

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