El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais National Monument and Conservation Area was established in 1987 and is a relative newcomer to the National Park System. This monument preserves 114,277 acres of which 109,260 acres are federal and 5,017 acres are private. 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.
Plane - Major airlines serve Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is 72 miles east of the monument. Rental vehicles are available in Albuquerque and limited rentals are available in Grants, NM and Gallup, NM. Greyhound bus lines has limited service to Grants, NM.