We spent most of the day on the road today from Santa Fe, NM to Holbrook AZ, but took a detour to visit El Malpais National Monument, in western New Mexico. Although this added over an hour to our travels, it was one of the most rewarding destinations we’ve had so far. This park covers 133,000 acres and protects a volcanic landscape sculpted over tens of thousands of years. The most recent volcanic eruptions were about 1200 years ago, and you can see black lava fields in many locations in the park.

El Malpais comes from the Spanish word Malpaís, meaning badlands, because of the barren landscape. We only had time to hit the highlights, so we stopped at Sandstone Bluffs, and La Ventana Arch, but if we find ourselves back in this area, we would definitely visit again.

This one reminds me of a scene in Star Trek!

Looks like Star Trek - El Malpais National Monument

The Ventana Arch was pretty magnificent too!

We are now in Arizona and looking forward to more great adventures tomorrow at the Petrified Forest National Park.

About Author

Karen is a retired software developer, now exploring our beautiful country with her husband, Steve.

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