• 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 »

Tinajas

SaBl-Tinaja
NPS Photo Dale Dombrowski
 
Frog-tinaja

NPS Photo

A tinaja is a bedrock depression that fills with water during the summer monsoonal rains and when snowfall accumulates in the winter. These microhabitats spring to life when the baked-dry stone basins fill with seasonal water. Many of the organisms that live in tinajas, such as crustaceans like fairy shrimp, are known as "drought tolerators" that lay eggs that are able to lose more than 90 percent of their internal water as they lie dormant in the dusty pool bottoms. When water fills the depression again they re-hydrate, hatch, and their life cycle continues. Most tinaja dwellers have very short lives - some as short as 10 days before they lay their eggs and the pool dries up.

Did You Know?

La Ventana is one of the most spectacular natural arches found in New Mexico.

La Ventana Natural Arch is one of the largest accessible arches in New Mexico. Eroded from Zuni Sandstone by wind and water, it is 25 feet thick, 125 feet high and 165 feet across at the base. More...