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.
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).
Gina M. on Narrows Rim Trail
Great hike! I was glad to have my hiking stick along with me though. Several places with ankle twisting rocks along the path.
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.
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.
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.