The Lobo Life finally made the relaxing, hour drive west to El Malpais National Monument. The conservation area is just south of Grants, New Mexico—a quaint town with a population of just over 9,000. When entering the park via NM 117, to the west you’ll see endless landscapes of small trees, while the eastern view showcases completely vertical cliffs which happened to be sprinkled in snow as we passed through. The park is filled with easily accessible viewpoints, hikes and even a few natural rock arches. Deeper into the conservation area are caves that you can experience through guided tours or self-exploration. With one of the grandest sunset spots The Lobo Life has seen so far, Sandstone Bluffs at El Malpais National Monument is definitely an easy and rewarding day trip.
A tip for the driver: If you wish to visit the El Malpais Visitor Center, understand that it is NOT at either of the northern entrances to the monument, rather it’s off Exit 85 from I-40 in the town of Grants, NM. When heading west on the I-40, the first entrance into El Malpais National Monument is via NM 117, which you will approach about 5 miles before the visitor center. The second entrance is via NM 53, which you will approach about 3 miles down I-40 after the visitor center.