A small herd of elk jump a barbed wire fence in roughly two at a time.
Elk jump a boundary fence along the southern boundary of El Malpais National Monument.

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

Despite the harsh, rugged lava landscape of El Malpais National Monument, wildlife abound. You can find everything from large mammals such as black bear, cougar, and elk, to tiny crustaceans like fairy shrimp. Look to the sky and you can find birds like majestic golden eagles or the smallest of hummingbirds. A further variety of reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, and arthropods are all found through the monument.

See what you can discover both online and in person!

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A camouflaged chipmunk blends in with rocky surroundings.

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski


If you are observant, you never know what you might find at El Malpais. More->

A vividly orange, white, and black "Checkered fulva" butterfly perches on a twig with wings spread.

NPS photo Phillip Brown


Meadows dance with color when Lepidoptera flutter by. More ->

A roadrunner with brown and white striping on its head, throat, and wings stands surrounded by underbrush.

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski


Birding at El Malpais is a year-round treat, with distinct changes in bird life found during all four seasons. More->

A western diamondback rattlesnake rests its head on its coiled body.

NPS photo Amanda Murphy

Reptiles & Amphibians

Many lizards and snakes, one species frog , and one or two species of toads call El Malpais home. More ->


Last updated: December 11, 2020

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1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants, NM 87020


505 876-2783

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