Hiking at Big Tubes can be a rewarding challenge for those prepared to hike a rugged landscape marked by cairns. Download the Big Tubes Area Trail Guide or pick one up at the El Malpais Visitor Center before heading to Big Tubes. The trail makes a rough figure-8 shape, so the hike can be made shorter if desired.
Hiking Cairned Routes
Sometimes the only trail markers along El Malpais trails are cairns: a series of rock piles used to trace a route across the land. Cairns are common on lava landscapes where creating a traditional trail or footpath is impossible because of the extreme nature of the terrain.
Last updated: February 6, 2021