Junction Cave CLOSED for the winter
Junction Cave is now closed to protect hibernating bats that overwinter within. Please help protect our winged relatives by respecting this closure. The cave will reopen for visitation on March 16th, 2014. Other permit-accessible caves remain open.
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 »
Your Safety is Your Responsibility
This is not your average walk in the park. Most of El Malpais National Monument is undeveloped. Piles of rocks, called cairns, mark rugged routes across the lava flows which can be difficult to follow. Every year there are search and rescue operations for lost and/or injured hikers. In most of these cases, people were not prepared for the conditions at El Malpais.
Hiking and exploring El Malpais can be a fun and rewarding
• Am I wearing the right clothes and shoes for the trail conditions?
The information here and in area guides is intended to help you as you explore, but it cannot replace common sense and good judgement.
To report a safety hazard e-mail us. Please be specific in your message describing the hazard, location of the hazard, and any other pertinent information.
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...