El Malpais National Monument

  • Natural Arch at El Malpais National Monument



El Malpais Information

El Malpais means "the badlands," but contrary to its name, this unique area holds many surprises, many of which researchers are now unraveling.

El Malpais means "the badlands" but contrary to its name this unique area holds many surprises, many of which researchers are now unraveling. Volcanic features such as lava flows, cinder cones, pressure ridges, and complex lava tube systems dominate the landscape. Closer inspection reveals unique ecosystems with complex relationships. Sandstone bluffs and mesas border the eastern side, providing access to vast wilderness.

For more than 10,000 years people have interacted with the El Malpais landscape. Historic and archeological sites provide reminders of past times. More than mere artifacts, these cultural resources are kept alive by the spiritual and physical presence of contemporary Indian groups, including the Puebloan peoples of Acoma, Laguna, Zuni, and the Ramah Navajo. These tribes continue their ancestral uses of El Malpais including gathering herbs and medicines, paying respect, and renewing ties.


Making an Impact

Visiting El Malpais

Map of the Park

El Malpais National Monument
123 E. Roosevelt Avenue
Grants , NM

Parks Near El Malpais National Monument

Body of water at El Morro National Monument
A national park in New Mexico, El Morro National Monument is a fascinating mixture of both human and natural history.
black rocks with white colored stick people and circles drawn long ago
Petroglyph National Monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites and features volcanic rock carved by Native American and Spanish settlers.
People Standing on Ruins
The Chacoan sites are part of the homeland of Pueblo Indian peoples of New Mexico, the Hopi Indians of Arizona, and the Navajo Indians of the Southwest.
Upward view of a ladder leading to a cliff dwelling
While known for mesas, sheer-walled canyons, and several thousand ancestral Pueblo dwellings, this monument also has over 23,000 acres of designated wilderness.
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