Big Tubes Area Trailhead

A deep trench of rubbly lava rock leads to a lava tube cave.
Explore an unworldly lava tube landscape at Big Tubes

NPS John Kuehnert

Quick Facts

Grill, Information Kiosk/Bulletin Board, Parking - Auto, Picnic Table, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Trailhead

Start your Big Tubes adventure here! Along this trail you will encounter a vast volcanic landscape, with some of the largest lava tube cave features in El Malpais. This rugged hike ventures over an otherworldly lava landscape formed by lava tube caves and collapse features. If you're planning to cave, don't forget to pick up a caving permit in advance from the El Malpais Visitor Center.

Getting to Big Tubes is an adventure all on its own. The road is typically best navigated with a high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle and may be impassible after heavy rains or snow. Call the El Malpais Visitor Center for current road conditions.

Camping is not allowed at this trailhead or any trailheads in El Malpais National Monument. 

El Malpais National Monument

Last updated: January 30, 2022