Alerts & Conditions

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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.

Open:

  • 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.

Closed:

  • 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.

 
 
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, visitors should follow CDC guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and adopt the following recreate responsibly tips:

  • Know before you go. Visit NPS.gov/findapark 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 state, tribal, and local orders of where you’re traveling. The NPS is working closely with public health professionals to make operational changes and adapt to changing conditions.
  • Keep your distance. Follow the CDC's social distancing guidelines and stay at least six feet away from other people. Masks are required in all NPS buildings and on all forms of enclosed public transportation, 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.
  • Know your limits. Postpone 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. Follow Leave No Trace principles.
  • 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: October 18, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants, NM 87020

Phone:

(505) 876-2783

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