• 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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  • 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 Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at I-40/Exit 85 or at the El Malpais Information Center on NM Highway 53. More »

  • Crews manage wildfire near Lost Woman Crater

    A small wildfire near Lost Woman Crater is being managed by crews from the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Managment. Recent heavy rains will minimize fire growth, but travelers may experience smoke on NM 53 near the continental divide.

Cinder Phacelia

A cinder slope covered with Cinder Phacelia.
NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

Cinder phacelia (Phacelia serrata) grows on exposed cinder slopes and is dependent on having volcanic cinders as a substrate. The plant is usually between 4-14 inches tall and grows at elevations from 5,200 to 8,000 feet. The upper leaves are attached directly to the base without a stalk, and in August through September it has a blue/violet flower. This plant is only found in two locations in the United States; El Malpais National Monument and Sunset Crater National Monument in Arizona.

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...