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 »
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.
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.Read More
Explore some of El Malpais' lava tube caves by getting your FREE caving permit!Read More
Surrounding public lands offer recreation, camping, and scenery. Historic pueblos, colonial villages, and Route 66 are regional highlights.Read More
Did You Know?
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...