Current Operations at El Malpais
To promote our staff and visitors’ safety, masks are required in all NPS buildings, regardless of location or vaccination status. Additionally, masks must be worn in outdoors spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks. Additional public health measures are in place across the service, from capacity limits to one-way trails, or even temporary closures in response to local conditions. El Malpais is suspending all ranger-led programs until further notice.
- The El Malpais Visitor Center is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm seven days a week through October 23, 2021.
- The El Malpais Visitor Center will transition to winter operating hours beginning the week of October 24, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The visitor center will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Thursday through Monday and closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rest of the park will remain open while the visitor center is closed.
- All surface hiking trails and overlook areas are open, including Sandstone Bluffs Overlook, Lava Falls, and El Calderon. Trails and parking areas are open 24 hours a day with the exception of Sandstone Bluffs Overlook which is open from sunrise to sunset.
- All park lava tube caves - including Junction, Xenolith, Big Skylight, Giant Ice, and Four Windows Caves - are closed until further notice. The park is in the process of updating its cave permitting procedure to ensure visitor safety and resource protection. Caves are also closed during winter months due to bat hibernation. No timeline is yet in place for cave reopening. This closure does not affect the Ice Cave, which is a privately owned business. Contact Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano for more information on visiting Ice Cave.
- The El Malpais Visitor Center will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday beginning the week of October 24, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The rest of the park will remain open while the visitor center is closed.
Last updated October 16, 2021. Information will be updated when conditions change.