El Malpais National Monument

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Bar S RV Park
What I did
El Malpais National Monument Grants
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I have been on a mission ever since we crossed back into the lower 48 from our Alaska adventure.  The mission has been to find 'new roads' and 'new sites' to see as we make our way back into familiar territory.  From Albuquerque we are making our way to the Mesa, Arizona area for a visit with Ken's mom, sister and a handful of friends.  Very familiar territory indeed! 

WIth my handy AAA map in hand and no reservations anywhere for the next month or so it is time to venture off the Interstates to see what we can find!  First up is El Malpais National Monument.  The closest campground to this Monument is in Grants, NM.  We are all settled in a full hookup site with free cable & wi-fi for $17 a night!!   We don't mind dry camping but I have to admit that after 13 days of it we are really enjoying being able to take long showers and to run appliances whenever we want to! 

El Malpais - which means The Badlands in Spanish - covers a broad section of the high desert located between Albuquerque and Gallup, New Mexico.  The area is covered in lava laid down by successive volcanic eruptions that occured from over one million years ago to as little at 3,000 years ago.  The area contains such volcanic features as spatter cones, lava tube caves and ice caves.  The monument also contains sandstone cliffs and New Mexico's largest sandstone arch. 

The park is accessible from two different highways, each containing viewpoints and hiking trails along with two seperate visitor centers.  We visited on a perfectly stunning autumn day and managed to do a few hikes along with most of the overlooks.   El Malpais was definately worth the drive off the interstate to visit and we would encourage you to do the same if you should ever find yourself traveling through the area. 

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