El Malpais National Monument

Points of Interest

Many points of interest can be reached by or from area roads. Ask at visitor centers about maps and brochures describing these areas. The centers are also a good place to check on local road and trail conditions.

Sandstone Bluffs Overlook
An easy drive leads to a ridge of sandstone offering excellent vistas of El Malpais lava flows and surrounding countryside.

La Ventana Natural Arch
Largest of New Mexico's readily accessible natural arches, La Ventana was eroded from sandstone dating back to the age of dinosaurs.

Cebolla Wilderness
East of State Road 117 lie some 62,000 acres of forested rimrock country, the Cebolla Wilderness. This area is rich in prehistoric petroglyphs and historic homesteads.

The Narrows
Where lava flowed near the base of 500-foot-high sandstone cliffs, State Road 117 threads a narrow corridor. Intriguing lava formations reward exploration of the McCarty's Lava Flow in this area.

El Calderon Area
Forested and offering year-round opportunities for exploration, El Calderon includes Junction Cave, Twin Craters, Lava Flow Double Sinks, El Calderon cinder cone sandstone formations, and a bat cave. Do not enter the bat cave or otherwise disturb the bats.

Big Tubes Area
Lava tubes can be huge. If you include its collapsed sections, this tube system is 17 miles long. A trail marked by cairns leads to two caves, Big Skylight and Four Windows. High-clearance vehicles are required to reach the Big Tubes area.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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