El Malpais National Monument


The jagged landscape of El Malpais National Monument creates an eerie world of lava tube caves, cinder cones, pressure ridges, and bridges. Formed over millions of years by molten rock, this site reveals a surprising amount of diverse flora and fauna that has adapted to this exotic environment. Ancient cairns, prehistoric ruins, and homesteads can be explored by short walks or strenuous hikes and rugged caving. Easy drives and scenic overlooks are another great way to see the uniqueness of El Malpais National Monument.


Seasonality / Weather

Weather can be unpredictable. Carry food, water, a hat, sun screen, a first aid kit and appropriate maps.



El Malpais is located south of Grants, New Mexico. Two major state highways border the monument and are accessed via Interstate 40.

Exit 89, east of Grants, will take you along NM 117 which forms the eastern boundary. BLM's El Malpais Ranger Station is located nine miles south of this exit and is open daily. Exit 85 at Grants will take you to the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center, a multi-agency facility, located south of exit 85 and is open daily. Exit 81, west of Grants, will take you along NM 53 which forms the northwestern boundary. The National Park Service's El Malpais Information Center is located 23-miles south of this exit and is open daily.


Major airlines serve Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is 72-miles east of the monument. Rental vehicles are available in Albuquerque and limited rentals are available in Grants, New Mexico and Gallup, New Mexico.

Public Transport: 

Greyhound Bus Lines has limited service to Grants, New Mexico. A local bus line operates three bus routes during the week in the Grants-Milan area.