Camping in El Malpais

El Malpais National Monument has no designated campsites. Overnight parking is NOT ALLOWED at any park trailhead or overlook. You cannot park overnight at a trailhead to hike out into the park to disperse camp. Primitive backcountry camping is allowed and is intended for (but not limited to) Continental Divide Trail thru-hikers.

Camps must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least one-quarter (1/4) of a mile from the following:
    • A road to a trailhead or parking area
    • Trailhead parking areas
    • Picnic areas
    • County Road 42
    • A building
    • Any cave or lava tube
    • Archeological or historical sites and/or structure
  • Primitive in nature using leave no trace ethics
  • Limited to a maximum of 7 consecutive days in one area and no more than 14 days in a calendar year
  • The maximum size of any one group of campers is limited to no more than 15 people in any one area
  • Parking for backcountry camping cannot exceed 10 feet off the roadway

Keep in mind that much of the surface of El Malpais is jagged lava and not ideal for camping.

Camping Near El Malpais

Camping opportunities exist near El Malpais National Monument on nearby public lands and in private campgrounds.

Public Lands Camping

Private Camping

Private campgrounds are available in Grants, New Mexico near El Malpais National Monument. Visit the Grants Chamber of Commerce website for information on private camping options.

Last updated: July 11, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants, NM 87020


505 876-2783

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