Explore the most popular views trails in El Malpais National Monument with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 month ago

Well-marked trail along a lava flow and into the lava tubes. Special care was taken to mark the safest route into the depths of the caves with reflective tape. Bring a headlamp and a back-up per person. Although a short hike to the Tubes, our group spent way more time than intended scrambling through and exploring the Ives. This is a great place to escape the heat. The parking lot is grated gravel and nicely maintained; pleasantly surprised to find the cleanest, least smelly outhouse I’ve ever used near the trailhead. Several picnic tables under the trees provided a nice setting for our picnic.

hiking
1 month ago

This listing and some of the reviews seem to be referring to several different trails. The route shown here is definitely not easy. My husband and I are experienced hikers, and we lost the trail a few times. I would rate it as moderate most of the way for the routefinding needed.

However, as written, this route has grades of more than 50% near the end. That is because it is a class 3 scramble. Definitely NOT easy or even moderate, especially when two people are trying to get a 60 pound dog up the rock face. We kept checking the AllTrails app thinking we were off trail, but we were right on route.

The "no dogs" tag on AllTrails is also incorrect; the sign in the parking lot states all El Malpais trails are dog friendly (but to consider the trail surface, obviously). This trail as written was completely fine for our dog (except for the scrambling near the end); the trail literally only crosses volcanic rock twice for maybe 10 feet total. Most of the trail is sand/sandstone.

Note that there are not views of the Ventana Arch from this trail. (Though there are a couple smaller natural arches that are cool!) Overall a nice trail; just be prepared, as the route currently shown does not match the rating or description.

hiking
2 months ago

Cool arch just steps from parking

Recommend starting early from the Acoma side.Started from the Zuni side and regretted it.Dogs are only fine if your camping half way or only hiking part of it.Learn from my dumb mistake don’t take dogs after March and if so not all the way

hiking
4 months ago

The is a nice trail with pretty views, though it does get monotonous. The trail isn't always clear, but the route is well-marked with cairns. It ends with a view of La Ventana, which is a great place to rest and have a snack before heading back. It was an enjoyable hike in the winter, though I imagine it gets very hot in the summer due to the lack of shade.

hiking
4 months ago

It was a good hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful views. Trail is not distinct at times, but hikers have created small cairns to lead the way. Small patches of snow in the shade. Trail surface varies between very soft sand and rocky.

hiking
5 months ago

Incredible geological site to see!!

5 months ago

nice trail, nice and long, very little elevation. ....watch them ankles......watch for cairns and wood post to guide you along.......

Lava rocks. It’s tough but it’s a good workout.
Plan for water, hat and good hiking shoes.

Fun and simple trail

The huge rock formations are other worldly in places. Its very cool.

7 months ago

The trail is very short, the view is spectaular!

hiking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Definitely get the free caving permits from the ranger station and check the caves out. Take a helmet and a light!

hiking
Monday, May 01, 2017

Nice Hike! Don't let the lack of elevation change fool you! If you have never hiked on Lava rock before it can get tough in spots. Don't forget to knock out the El Calderon loop trail if you have time. just a short drive from this trailhead.

Monday, April 17, 2017

get a permit at the ranger's office (no advance registration needed), get a map, bring headlamp and helmet (kneepad if you have them) and go explore the caves! we did all four caves in half a day: Junction (short and easy), Xenolith (a bit difficult and narrow), ice caves (super short like a joke), and big skylight. all pretty beginner friendly but fun and beautiful. I have a fwd and it's fine on the road.

hiking
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Short walk back to the arch. Nice stop to do in the area. Good for all the family even on a hot day.

hiking
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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).

hiking
Thursday, June 16, 2016

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.

on Narrows Rim Trail

hiking
Thursday, May 26, 2016

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

scenic driving
Tuesday, December 01, 2015

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

hiking
Saturday, November 14, 2015

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.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

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

hiking
Wednesday, September 09, 2015

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.

hiking
Friday, August 14, 2015

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.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Awesome hike!

on Narrows Rim Trail

hiking
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Great hike, outstanding veiws.

on Narrows Rim Trail

hiking
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nice out and back trail with a moderate ascent and then rim views over the lava flow.

hiking
Friday, March 23, 2012

Great views of La Ventana Arch once you get all the way out. Nice day hike!

mountain biking
Sunday, January 01, 2012

This trail is like hiking on the moon or in the Jurassic period you almost expect a dinosaur to poke its head over the top of some of the lava formations. Elevation gain is not so bad on foot a little harder on a mountain bike. This one of my favorite trails to hit when raveling between NM and AZ.

Load More