El Malpais National Monument – NM

After spending the day at Bandelier National Monument, we drove in the direction of Arizona. After sunset we decided to stay at Grant, NM for that night. It was the thanksgiving day and there was absolutely no restaurant open in that town. But we had a backup plan.

Checkout the dehydrated food section for more details.


Next day morning, after breakfast at the motel, we drove via Historic route 66 and Hwy 117 to El Malpais National Monument. The entire conservation is area is made up of volcanic features such as cinder cones, caves and arches.

Sandstone bluff

After stopping at the visitor center briefly, we drove to Sandstone Bluffs view point. It’s a gravel road that takes you up to an amazing overlook.

Sandstone bluff

The area is full of interesting rocks and routes that you can climb around to reach the bottom and come back up.

La Ventana Arch

We were more interested in the La Ventana Arch, a really huge sandstone arch located just off of Hwy 117. From the parking lot, its a short walk to the arch.


At the end of the trail, there is a tiny fence, and i assume it is to say that there is no paved trail from there to the base of the arch.

But, we saw somewhat of a used up trail that had lot of foot steps. Followed that to pretty much hike straight up to get the view as shown in the picture above. It’s a very short, may be 10-min uphill. There are lot of huge rocks on the trail and go at your own risk.