Experience an Extreme Land The primeval black basalt terrain of El Malpais was created by volcanic forces over the past million years. Molten lava spread out over the high desert from dozens of eruptions to create cinder cones, shield volcanos, collapses, trenches, caves, and other eerie formations. This stark landscape preserves one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanism on the planet.

loved the ice caves, view from crater was pretty nice. Easy Trail

27 days ago

i've hiked this trail many times and always enjoy it. as stated, it is a vista lovers trail, and i count myself among those. the trail itself is easy to follow but does vary from sandy to rocky and uneven, i've noticed my normal pace is much slower on this trail than others, mostly because of the uneven surface (and lots of photo-ops).

Short hike to view of the Arch. The arch was great, the hike didn't give you much of a better view than you get from the road.

4 months ago

Returned and hiked again. Entered one of the caves (permit required). El Malpais is a great area.

Must keep sight of the cairns, very uneven lava rock is the trail. Really not much harder than many rocky trails.

Fun hike. Easy hike. I took my whole family. There are two trails. One trail winds around the volcano and the other takes you down to the ice cave. Pretty informative and fun for kids. It does require a 10$ fee.

5 months ago

Great hike! I was glad to have my hiking stick along with me though. Several places with ankle twisting rocks along the path.

We started on the South Narrows trailhead off of 117, it was about 5 miles to the arch and it was gorgeous! Totally worth it and the stop off at the bluffs was amazing too! Will definitely return to explore more!

off road driving
7 months ago

The trail was sunny and dry when I entered it, but the weather turned real bad quickly when I was halfway through. Check weather before going, or wait until summer time to go through as the trail is very muddy during wet weather.

7 months ago

scenic driving
10 months ago

This route takes you off the main hwy and lets you see the real country. Many hiking, camping opportunities.

11 months ago

Easy trail. Nice to look at the flows without having to get off trail. Lava is hard on boots! Watch for mountain lions. There were a couple of sightings shortly before we arrived.

Just beautiful! My 2 boys (8 and 10) enjoyed the easy hike. Wonderful views!

If you love vistas, this hike is for you. Recommend hiking boots or shoes as you will be hiking on rocky terrain. Easy trail to follow with many rock cairns. Almost complete exposure to the sun the entire hike.

The trailhead is just off NM 117. Short hike to a beautiful natural bridge.

1 year ago

This is one of my favorite trails particularly in fall and winter. This trail follows the mesa's edge in El Malpais. The trail is easy to follow with sandy footing in some places. What makes this trail stunning are the views to the west over the black lava flows. Then, as the trail continues and turns east you will be treated to a view down overlooking La Ventana. it's a great spot for lunch or a snack before you make your way back down to the parking lot at the trail head.

Awesome hike!

An enjoyable and scenic hike to the crater with nice views all along the trail, ending in a good view at the entire crater of the extinct volcano. I was amazed by the ice caves which remain frozen year round due to the insulating qualities of the lava tubes in which they are formed.

Pretty informative information located throughout the trail to the Ice Cave. A short easy walk. The volcano is an easy hike. Beautiful scenery and weird at the same time.lol Requires a fee and it was $10 per person when I went.

Awesome trail but better to be prepared with hiking shoes for walking on lava. Went summertime and its was HOT!