We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! You come to us for reviews — now you can book your hotel right here on TripAdvisor.

El Malpais National Monument

Certificate of Excellence
Sponsored by:
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: Grants, NM
Phone Number: 505-876-2783

National monument with spectacular scenery.

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 179 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 105
  • 53
    Very good
  • 11
  • 2
  • 1
Incredible landscape

I fell in love with El Malpais from the moment I realised that all that black stuff by the side of I-40 heading west into Grants was an old lava flow. Next day I headed down the... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

179 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More
Showing 172: English reviews
Level Contributor
60 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I fell in love with El Malpais from the moment I realised that all that black stuff by the side of I-40 heading west into Grants was an old lava flow. Next day I headed down the 117 which skirts the eastern flank of El Malpais and the massive area covered by the lava. The Sandstone Bluffs Overlook is simply... More 

Thank toolski
Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
30 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We saw a sign for the arch and decided to try it. I was very disappointed. I expected an arch like Monument Valley but it actually is just a depression in the sandstone where rocks have fallen. Disappointing!!

Thank sparky221
Green Valley, Arizona
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

New Mexico Route 117 should be a Scenic Byway. The terrain is varied and beautiful. At El Malpais National Monument take a hike over lava beds and take a photo at the Ventana Arch.

Thank Jeffrey W
Level Contributor
193 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2016

This is a large area that's divided into different sections. I didn't have time to explore all of it but the areas I got to were very scenic. I did the Lava Falls Trail to start with, only a short trail (about 30 minutes) but it puts you into the middle of a field of basalt lava flows and the... More 

1 Thank Paul M
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
126 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2016

The El Malpais National Monument is a testament to natures forces & time. This beautiful natural arch can be viewed from your vehicle. A short hike on a smooth pathway will get you up close to the arch. This entire area has much to offer those who enjoy backcountry hiking, sightseeing, etc.

Thank SMLeek69
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2016 via mobile

Great place from the window of a car or hiking around. Lava flows are great but don't wear sandals as the rocks are very sharp.

Thank LA-ChrisB
Grants, New Mexico
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2016

There is a lot of climbing if you go on the rock. Too hot for middle of afternoon in summer. Go early and see what early explorers left their signature here!

Thank sola822
Rogers, Arkansas
Level Contributor
49 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2016

We took the kids to the visitor center to get our National Park Passports stamped and then drove to the Sandstone Bluffs and the Arch. There are lots of places to stop for a picnic lunch - but beware of the facilities, they can get a little ripe in the summer. The view from the bluffs was awesome! We just... More 

1 Thank LSmith-Arkansas
Silver City, New Mexico
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2016 via mobile

El Malpais National Monument is not your run of the mill vacation spot. It is made up of lava fields, lava tubes and ice caves. Mostly you make your own itinerary here, don't expect a spoon fed experience. If you are the independent sort who likes a challenging hike with awesome rewards at the destination, El Malpais is your kind... More 

2 Thank Russ K
Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
120 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2016

We stopped at El Malpais as part of an RV trip to national parks and monuments in the New Mexico area. The rangers at the visitor's center were very helpful planning our visit. We hiked some of the trails and stopped at the Sandstone overlooks and the natural arch. The views were spectacular and on par with other parks in... More 

1 Thank bobscribe

Been to El Malpais National Monument? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of El Malpais National Monument and other visitors
3 questions
Ask a question
New Port Richey
21 days ago
9 months ago
over a year ago

See all questions (3)

Questions? Get answers from El Malpais National Monument staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?