This hike gives you a very different view of the lava flows that make up El Malpais. You are 500 feet above them and looking down. You also get a great view of La Ventana Arch.
Start: 7084 feet (2159 m), max. elevation: 7519 feet (2291 m)
Length: 8.4 miles (13.5 km)
Trail usage: I was alone the whole time.
Take I-40 to exit 89, then take NM 117 south from the interstate. After several miles, you come to the BLM El Malpais visitor center. Pass the trailheads for the Acoma-Zuni trail, and La Ventana Arch. At 12.3 miles from the visitor center, turn let into the South Narrows picnic area. Park in the first part of the lot, near the entrance. The trailhead is right there, well marked.