About the El Malpais National Conservation Area

The 231,00-acre El Malpais National Conservation Area was established in 1987 to protect nationally significant geological, archaeological, ecological, cultural, scenic, scientific, and wilderness resources surrounding the Grants Lava Flows. El Malpais translates to “the badlands” in Spanish. In addition to the West Malpais and Cebolla Wilderness areas, the NCA includes dramatic sandstone cliffs, canyons, La Ventana Natural Arch, the Chain of Craters Back Country Byway and the Narrows Picnic Area. There are many opportunities for photography, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing within this unique NCA. The adjoining El Malpais National Monument is managed by the National Park Service.