EL MALPAIS NATIONAL MONUMENT MAP PDF
Feel free to visit or call one of El Malpais National Monument’s visitor centers for more information. PDFs of hiking guides are also available. Map of El Malpais National Monument – extensive lava fields and many other volcanic features in northwest New Mexico, near Grants. El Malpais National Monument is a National Monument located in western New Mexico, in the Map showing the location of El Malpais National Monument and National Conservation Area. Location, Cibola County, New Mexico, USA.
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The name meaning “the badlands” in Spanish comes from the rough, barren lava flow that makes up much of its terrain. The national monument protectsacres of volcanic landscape, while the adjacent national conservation area protects an additionalacres. The area has been inhabited for over 10, years, and historic and archeological sites provide reminders of past times. To this day Indian groups including the Acoma, Laguna, Zuni, and the Ramah Navajo still utilize the park for traditional activities including gathering herbs and medicines, paying respect, and renewing ties.
El Malpais pronounced el-mal-pie-EES means “the badlands”, so named due to the ,ap features such as lava flows, cinder cones, pressure ridges and ell lava tube cave systems that dominate the landscape. Sandstone bluffs and mesas border the eastern side, providing access to vast wilderness. Elevation in the park ranges from to ft. The most recent lava flow emanated from McCarty’s Crater within the last 2, to 3, years, so the park remains a geologically active area.
While known more for its geologic features than for its wildlife, the park is home to golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, great-horned owls, black bears, mule deer, elk, coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats.
Less cuddly residents include rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders. The park was also the home of a transplanted bison herd from untilbut the herd’s preference for roaming onto private lands led to their relocation. Some of the oldest douglas firs on earth live in the monument: The weather in northwestern New Mexico is unpredictable and visitors should be prepared for all conditions throughout the year.
Thunderstorms are a common occurrence during summer afternoons and lightning poses a hazard to hikers. Winter snowstorms are common and nights are cold with below freezing temperatures. El Malpais is south of the town of Grants. Two major state highways border the monument and conservation area and both are accessed via Interstate Exit 89, east of Grants, will take you along NM which forms the eastern park boundary.
Exit 85 at Grants will take you to the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center, a multi-agency facility, south of exit Exit 81, west of Grants, will take you along NM 53 which forms the northwestern park boundary.
The nearest major airport is in Albuquerqueabout 90 miles km away and only slightly farther from El Malpais than Gallup is. Since you’re going to have to rent a car or SUV anyway if you fly, you might as well get it in Albuquerque and drive.
From the Albuquerque airport, drive north on Interstate 25 to Interstate 40 and continue as above. Ntional highways Malpaie and NM 53 provide access to many areas in the monument. County Road 42, a dirt road, provides access to the backcountry’s primitive dirt roads.
These roads may be impassable when wet, and travel is restricted to high clearance vehicles and those with four-wheel drive. Check at the ranger station for current road conditions before visiting the park’s backcountry.
Hiking routes exist throughout the monument. Most traverse lava flows and are marked with rock cairns. Few dirt nahional exist.
Backcountry hiking and cave exploration is permitted, but no water is available. Topographical maps and a compass or GPS unit are strongly suggested for backcountry exploration. Please stop by a visitor center for the park’s caving policy and information prior to entering any cave. Entry to most caves requires permits in advance of your visit. Use extreme caution natiknal on lava terrain – it’s sharp and unstable!
Please don’t hike or cave alone.
Only four caves are open to the public with a free caving permit, obtainable at the park office or visitor’s center. Always bring several independent light sources and wear sturdy hiking boots when exploring a cave! Caves created from ancient lava tubes are found throughout the park, with some cave systems extending as far as seventeen miles.
The 4 open caves require permits for entry; check with rangers for current regulations. When caving, assume that your light source could break or be lost while exploring, and bring at least one and preferably two backup light sources. In addition, be aware that the cave floors are uneven, littered with boulders, and often wet, making sturdy shoes a necessity.
Anyone who has visited a cave or cavern within the last several years will need to disinfect their gear prior to entering caves in the monument, in order to prevent the spread of White Nose Disease among the makpais. The open lava expanses make for a wonderful hiking experience, one found in few other places. Monumfnt terrain is truly from nafional world, and any hiker off the beaten path will feel like a trail blazer for sure. A word of caution before attempting any off-trail journey, either a GPS or extremely good natiojal skills are natoinal, as the iron content of the lava makes compass readings unreliable and useful visible landmarks are few.
The park’s visitor center has a few malpai, postcards, and other souvenirs available for sale. Supplies and just about anything else can be purchased outside of the park, with the nearby town of Grants offering most of the essentials. Albuquerquea little more than an hour away, offers everything a traveler could want. There is no food sold within the park.
Best Trails in El Malpais National Monument – New Mexico | AllTrails
The nearby town of Grants has numerous restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores. There are no organized campgrounds in the western portion of the park, and campgrounds in the park’s eastern portion may be closed; check with rangers for current nqtional.
Additional camping options can be found north of the park in the town of Grants. Backcountry camping in the national monument area requires a free backcountry use permit that can be obtained at any visitor center. Backcountry usage in the national malpaie area does not require a permit, although visitors are encouraged to notify a ranger of their nationaal to help monitor usage.
Visitors planning to explore lava tube caves need to come prepared with warm clothing, protective headgear, at least three sources of light, sturdy footwear, and leather gloves. Do not take these warnings lightly; if you lose your light source even a short distance from a cave entrance it is extremely likely that you will become disoriented in the darkness and unable to find your way out. Similarly, the cave floor is rocky, uneven and often slippery, making sturdy momument is an absolute necessity to avoid foot and ankle injuries.
Best Trails in El Malpais National Monument
Sturdy hiking boots are required when hiking on lava terrain and daypacks with water, snacks, raingear, first aid kit and sunscreen are suggested. The heat while on lava flows can be intense, so plan on drinking at least one gallon of water per person per day. In addition, be aware that progress over lava flows is slow, that lava is sharp and can malpai tear apart tennis shoes, and that some sections of lava are unstable and may simply be thin crusts covering sinkholes.
Traveling solo on the lava is a very bad idea, as a broken leg can spell certain doom. Cellular service is nonexistent beyond the very northern mapais of the park. It is advisable to let someone know your itinerary in case you turn up missing.
The dangers cannot be overstressed. Less common park dangers hational rattlesnakes, scorpions and spiders, which can be easily avoided by being cautious in rocky areas; these creatures crawl under rocks to avoid the sun, so be cautious when reaching into crevices or overturning rocks.
In addition, the area around McCarty’s crater was once used as a military bombing range, and while unlikely, it is possible that unexploded ordnance may be encountered if traveling in this remote location. Any munitions that are encountered should not be handled and should be reported to rangers. El Malpais National Monument. Landscape [ edit ] El Malpais pronounced el-mal-pie-EES means “the badlands”, so named due to the volcanic features such as lava flows, cinder cones, pressure ridges and complex lava tube cave systems that dominate the landscape.
El Malpais National Monument – Travel guide at Wikivoyage
Flora and fauna [ edit ] While known more for its geologic features than for its wildlife, the park is home to golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, great-horned owls, black bears, mule deer, elk, coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats. Climate [ edit ] The weather in northwestern New Mexico is unpredictable and visitors should be prepared for all conditions throughout the year. This park travel guide to El Malpais National Monument has guide status. Please contribute and help us make it a star!