|Lat/Lon:||33.68306°N / 105.92256°W|
|Season:||Spring, Fall, Winter|
|Elevation:||5250 ft / 1600 m|
Valley of Fires preserves an area of lava flow in southern New Mexico close to the town of Carrizozo. At 5000 years old, the lava flow is one of the youngest in continental United States and covers an area 44 miles long, 4-6 miles wide and 160 feet thick (this information is per Bureau of Land Management website). The source of the lava is the 5676 ft Little Black Peak, a cone that rises less than 200 ft above its surroundings near the north end of the lava field. No trail goes to Little Black Peak. In fact, the only trail in the area is the 1.1-mile-long Malpais Nature Loop Trail that takes you into the lava field providing you with good views of the black rock and the hardy desert plants that have started to colonize it. Hiking off trail over the uneven surfaces of sharp abrasive rock will obviously be very time consuming and taxing on the footwear.
From the town of Carrizozo, New Mexico, drive 4 miles west on Route 380 and turn left (south) onto Valley of Fires Recreation Area.
For information about camping, restrooms, visitor center and entrance fees, see the official BLM website.
Views of Nogal and Carrizo Peaks.
Looking down into the malpais.
Views on Malpais Nature Trail.