El Malpais National Monument

El Malpais National Monument

Infobox_protected_area | name = El Malpais National Monument and National Conservation Area
iucn_category = V
nrhp_type = hd |

caption =
locator_x = 80
locator_y = 108
location = Cibola County, New Mexico, USA
nearest_city = Grants, NM
lat_degrees = 34
lat_minutes = 52
lat_seconds = 38
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 108
long_minutes = 03
long_seconds = 03
long_direction = W
area = 114,277 acres (462 km²)
established = December 31, 1987
visitation_num = 143,515
visitation_year = 2004
governing_body = National Park Service

El Malpais National Monument is off I-40 in western New Mexico, USA, near the Cibola National Forest. It is named El Malpais (Spanish for "badlands") due to the extremely rough, rugged lava flow that covers much of the park. The lava flows fill a large basin rimmed by higher sandstone that forms large, wind-carved bluffs around much of the malpais. The terrain is so rocky in some parts that trails cannot be constructed in the usual manner; cairns have been constructed to guide hikers. Attractions in El Malpais include its many lava tube caves, free for all to explore unguided, and Cerro Encierro, a popular hill to hike or climb with spectacular views. Another area of interest is La Ventana Arch. A paved road leading to the arch makes it easy to explore this huge natural sandstone arch. Going through the area known as The Narrows the cliffs rise up like a fortress, yet around the bend, the cracks and fissures formed by the water have calved off chunks that lay on the ground or propped up as if leaning for support. The other side of the road opens onto the remains of ancient lava, now supporting small trees and bushes. Park at the south end of the Narrows in the picnic area and you can take a hiking trail along the rim of the mesa. There's also a scenic overlook from the high bluffs on the eastern side of the malpais. Visitors should stop at a ranger station to pick up some literature, maps, and helpful information.

The U.S. National Park Service manages El Malpais National Monument proper, while the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees the El Malpais National Conservation Area.

Further reading

*cite book | first=Marilyn | last=Mabery | title=The Volcanic Eruptions of El Malpais: A Guide to the Volcanic History and Formations of El Malpais National Monument | publisher=Ancient City Press | year=1999 | pages=83 | id=ISBN 1-58096-007-3

External links

* [http://www.nps.gov/elma/ Official National Parks Service site]
* [http://www.offbeatnewmexico.com/el-malpais-new-mexico.html Offbeat New Mexico - El Malpais]
* [http://www.topoquest.com/map.asp?lat=35.04758&lon=-107.8125&s=250&size=l&u=4&datum=nad27&layer=DRG TopoQuest USGS Quad Map]
* [http://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/2006/el_malpais/html/elma0030.htm Photo tour of El Malpais National Monument] , from USGS

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