Wednesday, September 17, 2014

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

The stone arch shown above is La Ventana, Spanish for "The Window", which is located in the El Malpais National Monument.  This area covers a massive area south of Route 40 near Grants in New Mexico.  You can find rock cliffs, sandstone cliffs, caves, sinkholes and lava flows in this area.  The photo below is from the trail on the top of a mesa called The Narrows.  Across the road from this massive formation is a large area of lava flow, a stark contrast from the rock cliffs.  

Shown below is an ancient petroglyph on the face of one of the rock cliffs.  Unless you knew where it was, there was no way to find it.   Luckily, I had joined a nature walk given by one of the rangers and he pointed it out to us.  The trail to the end is about 4 miles one way, but only 4 of us out of about a dozen made the round trip.
Another overlook, you can see the dark area across the road, which is another part of the lava flow.

In another area of the Monument, there were sandstone cliffs I visited on another day and found this little tree trying to survive on the top near a pool of rainwater.


Below is a photo of one of the sandstone rock formations in that area.

This area is definitely worth exploring, allow more than one day.  There is a campground not too far from the ranger station, which is free, but without hookups. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Been past it many times and never checked it out! The closest was walking the lava flows adjacent to the KOA. Will have to add it to our list for when we start full-timing next August!