El Malpais National Monument

They called it El Malpais, the “badlands.” To early Spanish explorers, this land provided a substantial obstacle to travel.

Just 2,000-3,000 years ago, lava flowed through this part of northwestern New Mexico. When the molten rock cooled, the high desert winds began to scour the surface, carving ridges and cones into an eerie, blackened landscape.

El Malpais National Monument covers more than 350,000 acres of rugged rock, lava tubes, limestone formations, and ancient ruins. Manmade piles of stone, called cairns, dot the landscape—the only markers guiding present-day explorers across the craggy terrain.

There are no trails in the monument. Hikers, cavers, and campers must come prepared to find their way safely in and out of the park. Visit the information center first, for an overview of the geologic history of the region, maps of the area, and nine suggested routes through the park. 

elma.jpg

FIND A PARK:

FIND BY LOCATION:

FIND BY CATEGORY:

FIND BY THEME:

BROWSE ALPHABETICALLY:

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Post a Comment

Share your park story today. Post your park experiences, recommendations, or tips here.*

Nickname
Comment
Email
   
Enter this word:

* Your comments will appear once approved by the moderator. NPCA staff do not regularly respond to postings. We reserve the right to remove comments that include profanity or personal attacks, promote products or services, or are otherwise off-topic. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position(s) of NPCA. By submitting comments you are giving NPCA permission to reuse your words on our website and print materials.

Close

Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:

GO

Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account:

GO