Thanks to the rugged lava landscape, there are no roads through El Malpais. Two paved state highways - NM 117 & NM 53 - follow the eastern and northwestern borders of the monument, and a rugged dirt road - County Road 42 - crosses the southern boundary. Travelers leaving the pavement on CR42 are advised to get up-to-date road information and weather reports from the visitor center before heading out. Four-wheel-drive and high clearance are highly recommended (and often required) when driving CR42 & NPS 300 to the Big Tubes area.
Choose Your Adventure!
Last updated: January 16, 2023