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 »
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?
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...