Paw Friendly Trails

While the trails within El Malpais National Monument are pet friendly, many are not "paw friendly." The volcanic flows are made of rough basalt lava that can cause significant injury to your pet's feet or paws.

The main trails at El Malpais have received the following Bark Ranger ratings:


Paw Friendly?

El Malpais Visitor Center Trail

Paw friendly, enjoy with pets.

Sandstone Bluffs Overlook

Paw friendly, enjoy with pets.

Lava Falls Trail

Not paw friendly, avoid with pets.

Zuni-Acoma Trail

Not paw friendly, avoid with pets.

El Calderon Area

Mostly paw friendly, watch out in some areas.

Big Tubes Area

Not paw friendly, avoid with pets.

Some lava-covered trails may be suitable for dogs wearing appropriate protective footwear. Please keep your pet's safety in mind when exploring any areas within El Malpais.

An illustrated, furry dog wears a park ranger hat while looking upwards.  The words "National Park Service Bark Ranger" fill much of the green, circular frame.
Always follow the B.A.R.K. Ranger rules. Bag your poop. Always wear a leash. Respect wildlife. Know where you can go.

Laura S. Baumann

Pet Policies

While we welcome pets at El Malpais National Monument, it is important to keep the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 36 §2.15 in mind for the safety of your pet and the national monument's natural and cultural resources. These regulations make the following prohibited:

  • Possessing a pet in a public building, public transportation vehicle, or location designated as a swimming beach, or any structure or area closed to the possession of pets. There are exceptions for service animals.

  • Failing to crate, cage, restrain on a leash which shall not exceed six feet in length, or otherwise physically confine a pet at all times.

  • Leaving a pet unattended and tied to an object.

  • Allowing a pet to make noise that is unreasonable considering location, time of day or night, impact on park users, and other relevant factors, or that frightens wildlife by barking, howling, or making other noise.

  • Failing to comply with pet excrement disposal. Excrement must be picked up and placed in trash containers.

Certain areas within El Malpais National Monument are closed to all pets at all times, including all caves, lava tubes, lava trenches, archeological and historical sites, government buildings, and government vehicles. There are exceptions for service animals.

Pack Animals

We consider some pets to be pack animals for the purposes of transporting equipment. These include:

  • Horses

  • Llamas

  • Burros and Mules

  • Other hoofed animals

Use of these animals is prohibited everywhere other than established roads, and no free-trailing or loose-herding of pack animals is authorized.

Last updated: July 5, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants, NM 87020


505 876-2783

Contact Us