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 »
Nature & Science
Despite the harsh lava landscape throughout most of the monument, El Malpais offers an array of fascinating surprises for the naturalist. Some of the oldest Douglas Fir trees on the planet can be found in the monument as can unusual and rare forms of cave life. Lizards and snakes adapt unique colorations to blend in with the basalt lava rocks. Flora clings to life in the seams of lava cracks, while bats emerge from caves and lava tubes to begin their nightly hunt for food. While you can get acquainted with many facets of El Malpais' natural wonders right here, experiencing them firsthand by visiting the park is by far the best.
Time To Explore!
Free, mandatory caving permits are available for visitors who wish to explore several amazing lava tube caves within the monument. The first step is talking to a ranger.
A variety of plants, including cacti, wildflowers, and native shortgrass prairies or pine woodlands live in the Malpais. More ->
Many environmental factors help shape the El Malpais landscape. More ->
El Malpais provides many different habitats for wildlife, including reptiles like this horned lizard. More ->
Many exciting opportunities await you as a volunteer in Natural Resources. 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...