• 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.

Bats

Mexican free-tailed bats exiting Bat Cave
 

Bats

There are more than 1000 species of bats in the world, and they make up almost 25 percent of all mammals species. Bats are a valuable resource and provide great benefits to humans. Many species of bats eat insects and this helps reduce the mosquito population and the spread of the West Nile Virus and malaria. It is estimated that one little brown bat can eat as many as 1,200 insects in an hour!

Some species of bats serve as major pollinators of many plants used by humans including bananas, mangoes, figs, cashews and agave, which is used to make tequila. And did you know that bat manure (also known as bat guano) is an important ingredient used to make organic fertilizer because it is high in phosphorus and nitrates.

A number of bat species are in peril from a fungus known as White-nose Syndrome which was first discovered in this country during the winter of 2006-2007. You can find out more about White-nose Syndrome by clicking here.

 
Bat-Progam

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

Bat Outflight Programs

The natural phenomenon of watching thousands of bats emerge from their cave roost and rise into the twilight in search of food is a spectacular sight. You can witness this exciting natural event by joining park rangers every Friday evening during the summer at 7 p.m. in the El Calderon parking lot. Following a brief program at the parking lot, participants hike about 3/4 of a mile on an established trail to witness the event.

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...