El Malpais National Monument

El Malpais means "the badlands" in Spanish. The park is so named because of the unusual terrain caused by lava from ancient volcanoes. It covers a large area and is sparsely visited. Much of the park's area is covered by lava flows, and it also contains canyons, sandstone cliffs, rock formations, cinder cones, and lava tube caves. It is perfect for someone who wants to get away from it all and enjoy the spectacular scenery in solitude. Grants, Gallup, Albuquerque, and Pie Town are nearby towns that can be explored as well.

Where to Stay

RV Parks & Campgrounds Near El Malpais National Monument

Exploring the El Malpais National Monument and surrounding attractions is easy to do with an RV. Simply park your RV at one of the nearby RV parks and go exploring. After a full day, your family will enjoy the amenities of the campground. You can rent an RV through RVshare at a nearby location and be all set for a fun adventure.

RV Rentals Near El Malpais National Monument

Things to Do

Things To Do Near El Malpais National Monument

Hiking is the most popular activity at this park. Plan to take one of the hiking trails to see the stunning scenery, rock formations, and lava flows. The nearby El Malpais National Conservation Area also offers beautiful hiking trails. Don't miss the stunning La Ventana Natural Arch in the Conservation Area. In the summertime, the National Monument offers a ranger program in the evenings that will take you to Bat Cave to see the flight of hundreds of Brazilian free-tailed bats as they look for insects to eat.

Hiking Trails



Nearby Shops and Restaurants

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How To Get To El Malpais National Monument

To get to the El Malpais National Monument Visitor Center, take I-40 west from Albuquerque or east from Gallup. From I-40, take exit 85, and go south on Highway 117. Turn left onto Cliflear Blvd. and follow it to the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is very close to I-40.

El Malpais National Monument is open year-round. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. There is no fee for normal use of the park. Permits are required for special activities like caving, commercial filming, weddings, and large group events. Permits must be secured at least 30 days ahead of time.


1900 E. Santa Fe Ave., Grants, NM

Fee: Entry fee $0

El Malpais National Monument is a wonderful place to visit if you want to spend time in nature hiking and viewing unusual scenery, lava flows, and rock formations. On your trip, you can also tour nearby destinations such as Acoma Pueblo and visit shops and restaurants in Grants. Traveling with an RV is a perfect choice for your visit. There are many RV parks in the area where you can spend the night and relax after sightseeing. If you are planning an extended trip, there are some wonderful national parks to visit that are not too far away.