El Calderon Area offers a sampling of all of the features that make El Malpais so unique: lava tubes, cinder cones, and lava flows! The first mile of the trail passes by the entrances to several lava tube caves, including Bat Cave where you can see Mexican free-tailed bats fly out on warm summer evenings. The trail then climbs through a ponderosa forest to the top of El Calderon cinder cone, a small volcano that last erupted somewhere between 30,000 to 60,000 years ago and created the lava tube caves you hiked by at the start of the trail. From the cinder cone, either hike along primitive road for a shortcut back to the parking lot or continue across the younger Twin Craters lava flow (approximately 18,000 years old) to the Continental Divide Trail junction to return to your vehicle.
Things to Do at El Calderon
Last updated: January 18, 2023