Located in western New Mexico, El Malpais National Monument offers unbelievable scenery and an interesting history. The name of the National Monument, El Malpais, comes from the Spanish term Malpais, which means badlands, reflecting the very barren and dramatic volcanic field that encompasses much of the area of the park.
The park’s lava flows, cinder cones and other volcanic features are a part of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, which is the second largest volcanic field in the Basin and Range Province. Within the monument, you can explore many lava tubes with a free caving permit; the caves Juction, Xenolith, Big Skylight, and Giant Ice are accessible only with one of the permits. A scenic overlook at Sandstone Bluffs, provides amazing panoramic views of the lava flows of the monument. The area is home to some of the oldest Douglas Fir trees on earth. The U.S. National Park Service is responsible for the protection and management of the national monument and operate two Visitor Centers within its confines.
When looking to explore a place that has unique scenery along with a rich history, El Malpais National Monument is an excellent choice.