Ranger Programs

Fall 2022 Ranger Programs

El Calderon Guided Hike

Join a park ranger on the El Calderon Trail to learn more about the fascinating geology and ecology of El Malpais' oldest lava flow! See lava tube caves, beautiful grasslands, old forests, and a cinder cone volcano along this moderately difficult 3-mile guided hike.

When: Every Saturday in October at 10:30 am. The guided portion of this hike will take approximately 2 hours, but allow another hour to explore the rest of the trail on your own. The drive from the El Malpais Visitor Center to El Calderon Trail takes approximately 30 minutes.

Where: This hike starts at the El Calderon Trailhead located 25 miles south of Grants, NM on Highway 53.

What to Bring:

  • Comfortable hiking boots

  • Warm clothes

  • Water & snacks and/or lunch for after the hike

  • Sunscreen/other appropriate sun protection

Trail Details: El Calderon Trail is a moderately difficult trail with an elevation gain of approximately 300 feet. Most of the trail is gravel with some short stretches of cinder and lava rock. The portion of the trail that this guided hike will follow is about 3 miles long, but there is an optional 5 mile route that will be available after the guided portion of the hike finishes.

Lava Falls Guided Hike

Join El Malpais National Monument park rangers on a guided hike across New Mexico's youngest lava flow! The Lava Falls Trail at the southern tip of El Malpais traverses the McCarty's flow along a cairn-marked route. Learn about the fascinating features of this young volcanic wilderness on this 1 mile hike.

When: Every Sunday in October at 10:30 am. This guided hike will take approximately 1 hour. The drive from the El Malpais Visitor Center to the Lava Falls Trailhead takes approximately 50 minutes.

Where: This hike starts at the Lava Falls Trailhead at the southern tip of El Malpais National Monument located 36 miles south of I-40 on NM Highway 117. From the El Malpais Visitor Center in Grants, NM, head east on I-40 towards Albuquerque to exit 89. At exit 89, head south on 117. Continue for 36 miles to the southern tip of the park. Turn off at the signs for the Lava Falls Trail and drive approximately 3/4 mile down a gravel road to the Lava Falls Trailhead. The gravel road may not be suitable for large RVs. Pit toilets, picnic tables, and trash cans are available at the trailhead.

What to Bring:

  • Plenty of water & snacks
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen/other appropriate sun protection
  • Warm clothes
  • (Optional) binoculars for better viewing of distant features and wildlife

Trail Details: Lava Falls Trail is a little different from traditional hiking trails found in many national parks. Instead of a gravel path, we will be following cairns along a marked route. While there are no big hills or steep topography along this trail, the ground surface is very uneven. You may have to step across deep cracks in the lava and walk over unsteady boulders. Sturdy hiking shoes are required for this trail. This trail is not recommended for most dogs because of the sharp lava rock surface.

Night Sky Programs

Check back soon for fall & winter astronomy programs!


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Last updated: September 28, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants , NM 87020


505 876-2783

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