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.

Last updated November 20, 2021. Information will be updated when conditions change.

Open:

  • All surface hiking trails and overlook areas are open, including Sandstone Bluffs Overlook, Lava Falls, and El Calderon. Trails and parking areas outside of the visitor center complex are open 24 hours a day with the exception of Sandstone Bluffs Overlook which is open from sunrise to sunset.
  • The El Malpais Visitor Center is currently under winter operating hours. The visitor center complex, including the parking area and trail, is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Thursday through Monday. The visitor center is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday through March 31, 2022.

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 is currently closed on Tuesday and Wednesday through March 31, 2022. The visitor center is also closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and January 1st. The rest of the park outside of the visitor center complex is open 7 days a week.
 
 
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: December 10, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants , NM 87020

Phone:

505 876-2783

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