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COVID-19 Operations at El Malpais

The National Park Service is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities, access to El Malpais National Monument is as follows:



  • 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. 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.

Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated (less than 2 weeks past your final dose) must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation and in healthcare settings on DOI lands.

Last updated June 14, 2021. Information will be updated when conditions change.

Graphic of a raccoon wearing a face mask with the words "Masks are in"

Recreate Responsibly

Whether seeking wide-open spaces or exploring a historic urban neighborhood, remember to #RecreateResponsibly! We encourage you to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and follow Leave No Trace principles when you visit.

  • Know before you go. Visit for current park conditions and availability of restrooms and other facilities. Make a plan, follow the 10 Essentials, and if you are sick, stay home.

  • Keep it close. Follow the state and county orders governing the open status of the area you’re considering visiting. The National Park Service is working closely with state and local officials to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining public access throughout the National Park System, particularly in outdoor spaces.

  • Keep your distance. Recreate with the people in your household. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail, at a boat launch, or in a parking lot. Follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines for staying six feet away from others. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth if you’re near others.

  • Know your limits. Consider postponing challenging hikes or trying new activities while first responders, parks, and communities continue to concentrate on responding to the pandemic.

  • Keep it with you. If you brought it, take it with you. Trash pickup and restroom facilities will continue to be limited in many park areas.

  • Keep it inclusive. Be an active part of making our nation’s parks and public lands safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

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Last updated: June 14, 2021

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Mailing Address:

1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants, NM 87020


(505) 876-2783

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