El Malpais National Monument, NM

Molten rock created an eerie world of lava tube caves, cinder cones, pressure ridges, and bridges. A closer look reveals diverse flora and fauna adapted to exotic environments. Ancient cairns, prehistoric ruins, and homesteads show how people have related to this primeval place.

El Malpais is one of those vast wilderness areas that would take weeks to explore it all. We simply drove through a portion of it and stopped to see La Ventana Arch and the Sandstone Bluffs overlook. We arrived at the arch at the perfect time – the sun was just about to drop below the opposing ridge so the light was perfect on the arch. At the Sandstone Bluffs we were able to look out over a vast valley of jagged, black rock – remains from lava that flowed through the valley who knows how many thousands of years ago.

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