10 Tips for Visiting El Morro National Monument

A field of yellow bushes in front of a large cliff face.
Designated in 1906, El Morro is the second oldest national monument.

NPS Photo

El Morro National Monument is a small park in rural northwest New Mexico. The site is home to over 1,000 years of human history which visitors can explore along our two trails. El Morro's remote location and limited operating hours make advanced planning a necessity. Our rangers have compiled a list of the top ten tips to help make your visit as efficient and safe as possible.

  1. Watch the Weather
    The weather in New Mexico is highly variable and can change suddenly. Summers often bring high temperatures and strong thunderstorms. Winters can be cold and snowy. Keep a close eye on the weather and be prepared for any conditions. Enter “Ramah, NM” into your favorite weather app to get an idea of what to expect. This leads us to our next tip…

  2. Dress for Success
    Layers, layers, layers! Whether you’re visiting in the summer or winter, wearing layers is the key to success. The right layers can help keep you warm, cool, dry, and protected from the sun.

    Don’t forget your feet! Sturdy footwear, especially along the Headland Trail, is highly recommended.

  3. Know Before You Go
    El Morro National Monument has limited hours for visitors to experience the trails. To protect sensitive archeological resources, the trails are only open when the visitor center is open. The trails close 1-2 hours ahead of the visitor center to allow people enough time to finish hiking.

    The visitor center may also be closed during the week due to low staffing levels. For the most up to date information on visitor center and trail hours, check our
    basic operating hours.

  4. Share Your Plans
    Depending on your cell provider, there is little to no cell service within El Morro National Monument. Additionally, there is no public Wi-Fi available at the visitor center. Let someone know where you will be and how long you expect to be there.

    For more information, download the
    NPS App and save El Morro for offline use.

  5. Stay Hydrated!
    The high elevation and dry climate at El Morro can make you more susceptible to dehydration. Bring more water than you think you’ll need, especially during warmer months. It’s also important to drink plenty of water before you hike and to continue to hydrate after you’re done. Eating salty snacks is a good way to help your body replenish electrolyte levels.

  6. Explore the Area
    El Morro isn’t the only park in the region. Within a few hours drive in any direction, you can visit many other national park sites, including
    El Malpais National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park (AZ), Petroglyph National Monument, Chaco Culture National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument (AZ), and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Overall, New Mexico is home to 15 national park sites.

    Don’t forget to check out other public lands too, like
    Cibola National Forest and El Malpais National Conservation Area.

  7. Ask a Ranger
    Not sure which trail is right for you? Wondering what “El Morro” means? Can’t find the bathroom? Ask a ranger! Our staff is here to help you make the most of your time at El Morro and beyond.

  8. Pack Your Pup
    Your furry friends are welcome companions! Dogs are allowed on both trails and the campground as long as you follow the
    BARK Ranger rules. Dogs are not allowed in the El Morro Visitor Center.

    B-Bag and remove waste
    A-Always be leashed
    R-Respect wildlife
    K-Know where you can go.

  9. Come Camp with Us
    Need a place to stay? El Morro is home to a free, first come first served campground. There are nine sites available for tents and RVs under 27 ft in length. You can find out more information

  10. Leave No Trace
    A good rule of thumb no matter where you’re recreating. Make sure to pack out whatever trash you bring with you on the trail. Speaking of trails, stay on the path. El Morro does not allow any off-trail hiking.

El Morro National Monument

Last updated: December 10, 2023