• 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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  • 2014 Compendium now available

    The 2014 park compendium is now available via the link below. This includes new prohibitions on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within national park units. More »

  • 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 »


Special Use Permit

Individuals or groups who wish to use El Malpais National Monument for a special purpose or event require a Special Use Permit. A Special Use Permit must be applied for and approved by the Superintendent. Please follow the link (see below) most closely associated with your event and provide the required documentation to the Special Use Permit Coordinator at the address found on the first page of the application. If you have questions, you may contact the Special Use Permit Coordinator at 505-285-4641 x20 or 21.

Caving Permits

A FREE cave permit is required to visit select caves in El Malpais. Click here to go to
our caving page.

Read below in the "Research Permits" section for the procedures if you wish to conduct research in the caves of El Malpais.

Commercial Photography

Click here to read a summary of the commercial filming regulations and fees required by law - this document will answer many questions you may have about commercial filming and photography.

This activity includes, but is not limited to, any filming or photography intended for commercial public viewing or advertising, such as commercial still photography, motion picture photography, television commercials, and/or commercial videotaping. Please allow at least twenty-one days for processing. If you have questions, you may contact the Commercial Filming Permit Coordinator at 505-285-4641 x20 or 21.

General Application

This includes, but is not limited to, weddings, large group picnics, sporting events, church services, public spectator attractions, entertainment, ceremonies, 1st Amendment activities (fee is waived), or anyone wishing to use a public address system. Please allow at least twenty one days for processing (ten days for 1st Amendment activities). If you have questions, you may contact the Special Use Permits Coordinator at 505-285-4641 x20 or 21.

Research Permit

Anyone wishing to conduct research at El Malpais National Monument must first submit an online application through the National Park Service Research Permit and Reporting System. We will then review the application and notify you of our decision. Contact the Research Permit Coordinator at 505-285-4641 or e-mail us for more information.

Click here to see a current list of research needs at El Malpais.

Commercial Use Authorizations

Anyone (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) wishing to provide commercial services for El Malpais visitors in limited circumstances must apply for a Commercial Use Authorization before conducting any type of commercial service. CUAs, although used to authorize commercial services to El Malpais visitors, are NOT concession contracts. They are intended to provide a simple means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in the limited circumstances of the legislation (Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391). Commercial visitor services means accommodations, facilities, and services the NPS has determined to be necessary and/or appropriate for public use and enjoyment of a Park area provided to Park area visitors for a fee or charge by person. The fee or charge paid by the visitor may be direct or indirect as part of the provision of comprehensive visitor services. Please allow thirty business days for processing. If you have questions, you may contact the Commercial Use Authorization Coordinator at 505-285-4641 x20 or 21.

Transportation and Utility Systems and Facilities on Federal Lands

This includes, but is not limited to, any type of construction project, commercial transportation, or transporting goods or services.

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...