• 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 »


Elk jump a boundary fence along the southern boundary of El Malpais National Monument.
NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

Despite the harsh, rugged lava landscape of El Malpais National Monument, wildlife abound. You can find everything from large mammals such as black bear, cougar, and elk, to tiny crustaceans like fairy shrimp. Look to the sky and you can find majestic golden eagles or the smallest of hummingbirds. A further variety of reptiles, amphibians, insects, and arthropods are all found through the monument. You can learn more by following the links on this page, or better yet, come out to El Malpais and experience the resource firsthand; El Malpais is a true treasure trove for the naturalist.


NPS photo Dale Dombrowski


If you are observant, you never know what you might find at El Malpais. More->

Checkered Fulva

NPS photo Phillip Brown


Meadows dance with color when Lepidoptera flutter by. More ->

A roadrunner

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski


Birding at El Malpais is a year-round treat, with distinct changes in bird life found during all four seasons. More->


NPS photo Amanda Murphy

Reptiles & Amphibians

Many lizards and snakes, one frog , and one or two species of toads call El Malpais home. More ->

Did You Know?

A lava moonscape in El Malpais

When people say that El Malpais lava country looks like a "moonscape" they aren't far from the truth. Much of the moon is covered with basalt lava flows which form the "maria" or lunar seas. Astronauts trained on lava flows in preparation for walking on the moon. More...