El Malpais

National Conservation Area - New Mexico

The El Malpais National Conservation Area is a federally protected conservation area in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It was established in 1987 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Landscape Conservation System. The adjoining El Malpais National Monument was established at the same time and is managed by the National Park Service. The 263,000-acre (1,060 km2) El Malpais NCA includes two wilderness areas — the West Malpais Wilderness and Cebolla Wilderness Area — covering almost 100,000 acres (400 km2).

maps

Visitor Map of El Malpais National Conservation Area (NCA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).El Malpais - Visitor Map

Visitor Map of El Malpais National Conservation Area (NCA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Official visitor map of El Malpais National Monument (NM) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).El Malpais - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of El Malpais National Monument (NM) in New Mexico. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of Canyons Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Canyons - Wilderness Map

Map of Canyons Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Chain of Craters Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Chain of Craters - Wilderness Map

Map of Chain of Craters Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of El Malpais Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).El Malpais - Wilderness Map

Map of El Malpais Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of West Malpais Wilderness in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).West Malpais - Wilderness Map

Map of West Malpais Wilderness in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

https://www.blm.gov/visit/el-malpais-nca https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Malpais_National_Conservation_Area The El Malpais National Conservation Area is a federally protected conservation area in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It was established in 1987 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Landscape Conservation System. The adjoining El Malpais National Monument was established at the same time and is managed by the National Park Service. The 263,000-acre (1,060 km2) El Malpais NCA includes two wilderness areas — the West Malpais Wilderness and Cebolla Wilderness Area — covering almost 100,000 acres (400 km2).
Safety Tips •Wear proper clothing. Even in summer, carry a flashlight and light jacket in case you are caught out after nightfall. Wear good walking shoes or hiking boots. •Carry plenty of water, up to a gallon (4 liters) per person per day when performing strenuous activity in hot weather. Also bring a high-energy snack. •It is best to hike with at least one other person. If you go alone, always leave word as to where you are going, what time you are leaving and what time you expect to return. •It is unlawful to disturb or annoy wildlife, especially bats, reptiles, birds of prey and other protected species and their nesting areas. There are rattlesnakes in this part of the country, but they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. •If you become lost, stay in one place. You will conserve your energy and make it easier for searchers to find you. •In case of an accident or a lost person, notify the nearest New Mexico State Police office at 505/287-4141; they will then notify a search and rescue field coordinator. •Know your limitations; don’t attempt climbs or hikes About Wilderness Areas Wilderness is a legal designation outlined in the Wilderness Act of 1964. This designation offers long-term protection and conservation of landscapes, natural values, habitat and sources of clean water on public lands while also focusing on unique features of particular wilderness areas. These special places have little to no human made improvements and are managed to maintain their primitive character. The National Wilderness Preservation System is made up of individual Wilderness areas that share a common management vision toward preserving naturalness, limiting the influence of man and providing outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. that you don’t have the ability, equipment, or time to accomplish. Do not climb on cliffs unless you are an experienced rock climber. Collard lizards Chipmonk Leave No Trace: Plan ahead and prepare - Travel and camp on durable surfaces - Dispose of waste properly - Leave what you find - Minimize campfire impacts - Respect wildlife - Be considerate of other visitors. Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Ave. NE Pan American Bldg., Suite 330 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109 505/761-8700 or El Malpais Ranger Station 505/280-2918 or www.blm.gov/new-mexico BLM/NM/GI-02-005-1220 El Malpais National Conservation Area General Rules & Regulations T he El Malpais National Conservation Area (NCA) is a special place with remarkable geological and cultural resources. Along with impressive scenery, the area is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, turkey, elk, mountain lion, black bear and the collared lizard. Mule Deer The BLM manages this area to conserve, protect, enhance and restore these special features for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Listed below are rules and regulations to keep in mind as you enjoy your time with us. Camping The Joe Skeen Campground, is the only designated campground in the El Malpais NCA. It is located 2 miles south of the Ranger Station along Highway 117. This campground has marked sites, picnic tables, fire grates and vault toilets. No water is available at the campground but can be found at the Ranger Station (see website for hours). Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Campsite reservations are not allowed. There is a limit of 7 days campsite occupancy in any 28-consecutive-day period. After the 7th day, campers must move at least 25 miles from the previous location, and must not return there for at least 30 days. Quiet hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.. Horses and other pack animals are not allowed in the campground. Backcountry Camping Campers wishing to stay in primitive and Wilderness locations are not charged a fee. Do not camp or build a fire in or on any historic or prehistoric structure or within 300 yards of any spring, man-made waterhole, well, or water tank used by wildlife or domestic stock. Backcountry camping has a limit of 14 days in a 28-day period. The 14day limit can be reached by a number of separate visits or through 14 days of continuous occupation. After the 14th day, campers must move beyond a 25-mile radius from the previous location, and must not return to any location within this radius for at least 30 days. Vehicles may not be parked further than 100 feet from designated roads. “Pack it in, Pack it out”—Please clean up your campsite before you leave and practice Leave no Trace. It is recommended but not mandatory that you stop by the Ranger Station located on Highway 117 to let a ranger know where you will be camping and how long you intend to stay. Climbing Technical rock climbing within the La Ventana Natural Arch area is prohibited. Climbing is allowed at other areas within the NCA, but bolting is prohibited within Wilderness. Please keep in mind that sandstone is generally of poor qual
Safety Tips Wear proper clothing. Even in summer, carry a •flashlight and light jacket in case you are caught out after nightfall. Wear good walking shoes or hiking shoes. Carry plenty of water, up to a gallon (about •four liters) per person per day when performing strenuous activity in hot weather. Also, bring a high energy snack. is best to hike with at least one other person. •IfItyou go alone, always leave word as to where you are going, what time you are leaving and what time you expect to return. Please don’t disturb wildlife. There are •rattlesnakes in this part of the country, but they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. If you become lost, stay in one place. You will •conserve your energy and make it easier for searchers to find you. In case of accident or lost person, notify the •nearest New Mexico State Police office, they will then notify a search and rescue field coordinator 505/ 287-4141. Know your limitations; don’t attempt climbs or •hikes that you don’t have the ability, equipment, or BLM/NM/GI-02-007-1220 time to accomplish. Do not climb on cliffs unless you are an experienced rock climber. Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Ave. NE Pan American Bldg., Suite 330 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109 505/761-8700 or El Malpais Ranger Station 505/280-2918 or www.blm.gov/new-mexico Leave No Trace: Plan ahead and prepare - Travel and camp on durable surfaces - Dispose of waste properly - Leave what you find - Minimize campfire impacts - Respect wildlife - Be considerate of other visitors. Narrows Rim El Malpais National Conservation Area W ithin the El Malpais National Conservation Area lies the Narrows. It is named for the 3-mile narrow corridor that developed when lava flowed close to the base of a 500-foot sandstone mesa. Most of the lava observed is from McCarty’s crater, and at approximately 1500 years old, it is the youngest flow in the area. The varied vegetation and habitats make the Narrows Rim Trail and surrounding area one of the best birding locations at El Malpais. Most of the common species, and many less common species, can be seen at the picnic area, along the trail or by hiking in the surrounding countryside. Birders should expect to see raptors, sparrows, towhees, woodpeckers, ravens, flycatchers, bluebirds, jays, warblers and tanagers. A good day of birding should yield 30 species or more. The trailhead and parking area for the Narrows Rim Trail are located at the south end of the Narrows Picnic Area, which is 21 miles south of I-40 on NM 117. The trail is approximately 4.5 miles (nine miles round trip) along the rim of the mesa. Narrows Rim Trail gives hikers the opportunity to witness geologic processes thousands of years apart. Stroll along the ancient mesa top and view the much younger lava flows below. This remarkable scenery of the lava beds and surrounding countryside ends with a picturesque view of La Ventana Natural Arch. Helpful Information: • Come prepared with plenty of water, good hiking shoes, and sunscreen. • During the summer months, thunderstorms build quickly and lightning is often present. The trail is located on the very top of a mesa, so it is •recommended that hikers head back or move to a lower elevation as soon as a storm starts moving in. The altitude of this hike is over 7,000 feet, so for those •who are not yet acclimated to the elevation, it’s a good idea to allow plenty of time for rest stops. Pets are permitted on the trail but are required to be on a •leash. The views from the narrows rim are spectacular to say the least. Going to the far end, a distance of 4.5 miles, will result in excellent vistas. Abundant in the spring and summer, a variety of wildflowers can be found along this trail. Ponderosa pine, pinon/juniper woodland, and a variety of oak and shrub species line the path and provide shady spots for a rest and to enjoy the views. Lucky hikers might see one or some of the many species of wildlife of the area. Mule Deer, Elk, Bobcat, and Black Bear have been spotted on the trail. To the careful eye, tracks and droppings can reveal the other creatures that use this trail. Rabbits, squirrels, birds, chipmunks and lizards are plentiful. This is a •designated Wilderness area and is not open to bicycles. Check in with the Ranger Station, nine miles south of I-40 on NM 117, for more information The El Malpais Ranger Station. on this hike as well as other great hiking opportunities within El Malpais. For hours of operation please call or see website.
During high temperatures, bring plenty of water, a hat, bug spray and sunscreen. Watch for cactus where you step, and be careful of rattle-snakes. On hot days snakes will be in shady areas; on cool days they will be out in the sun. Please leave the site and its archaeological remains in place - IT IS THE LAW! Picking up and taking even a small piece of pottery with you is illegal, and can mean that important scientific information is lost. Please leave the site as you found it so that it can be enjoyed by future visitors. Also remember to carry out any trash you bring - LEAVE NO TRACE of your visit to your remarkable public lands. Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Ave. NE Pan American Bldg., Suite 330 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109 505/761-8700 or El Malpais Ranger Station 505/280-2918 or www.blm.gov/new-mexico In case of emergency: BLM Rio Puerco Law Enforcement – 505/761-8700 Immediate Emergency – 911 BLM 24-hour Santa Fe Law Enforcement – 505/827-9377 BLM/NM/GI-002-006-1220 The Dittert Site El Malpais National Conservation Area S ometime between A.D. 1000 and 1300, the Dittert Site was built and occupied by the Anasazi people. They were the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indian people. The ruin is an L-shaped masonry structure that was originally two stories high and consisted of 30-35 rooms and a kiva. The site was named after Alfred “Ed” Dittert Jr. who along with R.J. Ruppe Jr. excavated it between 1947 and 1949. The two men recorded eight rooms and the kiva. All the rooms were built close together, with the kiva incorporated into the building. The walls are made of compound masonry with “pecked” sandstone (worked by hand so the rocks are uniform). The Dittert Site is one of more than 60 sites in the Armijo Canyon area. These sites clearly form a community in which the Dittert Site was probably central. Is the Dittert Site a Chacoan Outlier? Between about A.D. 950 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was an important place for the Anasazi people. Chaco’s influence spread throughout the “four corners” region (northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona). The Chaco Canyon culture had many “outlier” communities, usually with a “great house” (an unusually large building with more than one story and many rooms) and a kiva that was built within the block of rooms. These communities often had associated roads and very large kivas called “Great Kivas.” The communities in El Malpais resemble those of Chaco Canyon with scattered 2- to 6-room masonry houses and a great house. The Dittert Site has a Chacoan appearance with large rooms, a blocked-in kiva, two roads (networked to the larger Chacoan communities), and an unroofed Great Kiva nearby. The architecture resembles that of Casamero Ruin, a Chacoan outlier that is located 60 miles to the north. In spite of these similarities, Dittert’s excavations indicated the site was built on the mound of an earlier ruin. The roof beams he excavated dated to the 1200s, long after the Chacoan system was dissolved. The question still remains unanswered “Was this site reoccupied and remodeled 100 years after the Anasazi abandoned Chaco Canyon?” What Happened to the People? Dittert’s survey indicated the area experienced a period of explosive population growth. During this period, erosion and arroyo formation began. Crop fields would have been destroyed by flash floods. Tree-ring studies dating from A.D. 1250 to 1300 show that the area experienced drought conditions that would have caused crop failures year after year. These hard conditions led the occupants to abandon the Dittert Site. After abandonment the site showed signs that the occupants intended to return. Roofs were still intact, rooms were not burned and the furniture was left in place. However, no one ever returned. The people who left this site probably moved east to join Acoma Pueblo. Present-day Acoma people consider Dittert an important ancestral site. When You Visit The ruin can sometimes be difficult to find, there is no established trail that leads directly to the site. Follow the map or use these coordinates: N 34°39.552, W 107°58.332. The elevation of the site is 7284 ft.
West Malpais & Hole-in-the-Wall El Malpais National Conservation Area Within the West Malpais Wilderness is a 6700-acre kipuka called Holein-the-Wall. “Kipuka” is a Hawaiian word meaning “island of vegetation surrounded by lava flow.” Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Ave. NE Pan American Bldg., Suite 330 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109 505/761-8700 or El Malpais Ranger Station 505/280-2918 or www.blm.gov/new-mexico In case of emergency: BLM Rio Puerco Law Enforcement – 505/761-8700 Immediate Emergency – 911 24-hour Federal Law Enforcement – 800/637-9152 BLM/NM/GI-16-05-8000 Welcome to the West Malpais Wilderness/ Hole-in-the-Wall! L ooking for adventure? A hike into this rugged wilderness brings wonderful opportunities as well as challenges for the adventurous hiker. vital nutrients for others, and opening up new niches in which life may begin anew. As a result, species have adapted to the unique conditions here. There is also considerable evidence of human activities in the Hole-in-the-Wall. The ancestors of today’s native peoples, homesteaders and modern day ranchers have influenced this special area. The area is remote, far from the roars of the highways and insistent dings of technology, and a person can be free to reconnect with themselves. You’ll “A wilderness, in contrast with begin to refresh as you hike through those areas where man and his own rocky areas with little vegetation works dominate the landscape, is and spot tracks from cougars or see skittering lizards. As you hike hereby recognized as an area where further into the Wilderness, you the earth and its community of life are may look around you, shocked as untrammeled by man, where man himself the barren land becomes more is a visitor who does not remain.” densely vegetated. Now that this area is wilderness, it is protected for all to enjoy. Among other opportunities in the El Malpais NCA, is the West Malpais Widlerness. Within the West Malpais Wilderness an oasis of vegetation is housed and is known as the Hole-inWilderness Act of 1964 the-Wall. The Hole-in-the-Wall is the largest islandlike depression in the The El Malpais National EL Malpais NCA lava fields and over the years, moisture and Conservation Area (NCA) contains some of the most soil collected on some of the oldest lava to form this 6,000dynamic and scenic landscape in New Mexico. El Malpais acre park of ponderosa pine. is Spanish for “the badlands,” a description worthy of the area’s countless volcanic eruptions which sent rivers of Near the northeast corner of the wilderness you will find molten rock and flying cinders over what is now a bleak yourself in a 6700-acre kipuka called Hole-in-the-Wall. valley of three million years’ worth of hardened lava. Native “Kipuka” is a Hawaiian word meaning “island of vegetation American settlers probably witnessed the last of the surrounded by lava flow.” This fertile ground, underlain by eruptions. Their former home is now a land of craters and the 700,000-year-old North Plains lava flows is inhabited by lava tubes, cinder cones and spatter cones, ice caves and numerous forms of life, surrounded and segregated from pressure ridges, and a surprising amount of vegetation. their original biotic communities by a sea of broken, jagged basalt. Many varieties of trees, shrubs, mammals, reptiles, grasses, fungi and other creatures make this wilderness their home. These life forms interact with and influence one another, in this harsh, dry environment. For example, lichen slowly breaks down rock and obtains nutrients from the stone. This process provides new soil and a toehold for new plant growth. Antelope, deer, rabbits, and squirrels forage for these plants and scarce water. Lightning-caused wildfires sweep through areas, destroying some plants, while releasing Access The easier, fastest, and best driving route to access the West Malpais Wilderness and Hole-in-the-Wall is from the south end of the NCA off NM 117. From NM 117, proceed northwest on CR 42 for approximately 2.1 miles. Take the right fork to the north and travel about 5 miles to where the road ends at the West Malpais Wilderness trailhead. These areas can also be accessed from the north by turning south from NM 53 onto CR 42 and proceeding approximately 5.8 miles turning left (east) on the road to Big Tubes (NPS 300). From Park Road 300 take 301 off to the south. Park Road 301 forks many times but stay on it continuing to go south and east. (Be forewarned, this is one of the roughest roads in the NCA!) These roads are minimally maintained but should be marked at each junction. You should see a sign for Little Hole-in-the-Wall. Continue straight in for an additional 9 miles to the Cerro Encierro Trailhead. Pointers and Precautions Water is a scarce and precious resource in this arid country. You must carry with you all the water you need. No mechanized vehicles (mountain bikes included) may be driven past the posted wilderness boundary into th
El Malpais National Conservation Area U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management l l Hiking Trails Help to protect our natural resources by staying on the designated trails All mileages listed begin from the BLM Ranger Station located 9 miles south of 1-40 on Highway 117. Ventana Natural Arch. The trailhead and parking area are located at the southern end of the picnic area. Hike Description: The trail takes you Hike Description: This is a relatively to the top of a 500 foot sandstone easy walk to the base of the arch. mesa where you will have scenic Along the way you views of the lava beds will be and surrounding surrounded by country. At the dramatic end of the trail sandstone cliff you will have a formations, great view of La pinon and Ventana Natural Wear proper clothing. Even in summer, Arch. This is a juniper trees carry a light jacket in case you are along with a designated caught out after nightfall. variety of wilderness area shrubs and Wear good walking shoes or hiking shoes. and is not grasses. At accessible by the end of the bicycle. walk you will be rewarded with a magnificent view Length of Hike: Approximately 6½ of La Ventana, one of New Mexico’s miles round trip. largest natural arches. The trail leading up to the base of the arch is primitive. Please stay on the ARMIJO CANYON: designated trail in an effort to protect Directions: Drive south on SR 117 our fragile resources. for 22.6 miles until you reach CR 41 (otherwise known as “the Pietown Length of Hike: Approximately ½ road”). Drive south on CR 41 for mile round trip. approximately 3.7 miles until you reach the Armijo Canyon sign, which will be on the east side of the road. NARROWS RIM HIKE: Turn left and after approximately a Directions: Drive south on SR 117 mile and, a half you will reach the for 12.5 miles to the Narrows Picnic parking area, this is the trailhead. Area located 3 miles south of La County road 41 and the road leading to Armijo Canyon may become impassable when wet, so please keep an eye on the weather. Hike Description: This is a pleasant hike, but keep in mind that it is very sandy. The trail winds among pinon and juniper trees and will take you to a very nice homestead. This is a designated wilderness area and is not accessible by bicycle. Length of Hike: Approximately 4½ miles round trip. Other Notes: The Dittert Site is at the mouth of Armijo Canyon. If you are interested in going to the Dittert Site please check with the BLM Ranger Station on SR 117 to get a brochure and accurate directions. Carry plenty of water and a high energy snack. GRGR AN AN OOL A LA LA VENTANA NATURAL ARCH: Directions: Drive south on SR 117 approximately 9 miles. The arch is visible from the road. l ll HOLE- IN-THE-WALL: Directions: Drive south on SR 117 until you reach CR 42, also known as Chain of Craters Back Country Byway. Turn on this road and proceed northwest for approximately 2.1 miles until you reach a fork in the road, take a right and proceed north for approximately 5 miles to the trailhead. Please keep an eye on the weather, county road 42 is a dirt road and is impassable when wet. Hike Description: This is a wonderful hike for the avid hiker and backpacker. Accessing Hole-in-the-Wall requires hiking several miles across open plains and lava flows. Hole-inthe-Wall is a 6700 acre kipuka that consists of ponderosa pine parklands and open rangeland surrounded by lava. This is a designated wilderness area and is not accessible by bicycle. Please pack in plenty of water, as there are no reliable water sources in the area. trail is marked with a rock cairn adjacent to the parking area. Length of Hike: Approximately 3 miles to get into Hole-in-the-Wall and as much hiking as you can do from there. Hike Description: The trail is clearly marked with cairn markers and wooden posts. The trail winds among the Chain of Craters and passes through pinon, juniper, ponderosa pine and a variety of shrubs and grasses. This is a very pleasant hike. Pack in plenty of water as there are no reliable sources of water in the area. County road 42 is a dirt road and is impassable when wet, so please keep an eye on the weather. CONTINENTAL DIVIDE NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL: Directions: From SR 53, drive southwest on SR 53 to CR 42. Turn south on CR 42 and drive approximately 5 miles until you reach the trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead. The trail is marked with a rock cairn across the road from the parking area. From SR 117: Drive south on SR 117 until you reach CR 42. Once on CR 42 it is a 9-mile drive across an open plain to the trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead and the Length of Hike: Approximately 20 miles from trailhead to trailhead . For more information on the Continental Divide Trail please stop by the BLM Ranger Station on SR 117 . Please practice Leave No Trace camping skills and ethics. Information regarding Leave No Trace is available at the BLM Ranger Station on SR 117. “A thing i
View from Overlook: Ranger Station Nature Trail Guide Wildlife By now you have probably seen or at least heard a few birds. They are abundant in this upland desert. Approximately 210 species have been observed at El Malpais. Many of the more common species can be seen around the Ranger Station. You might not think there is enough around here to eat if you were a bird. But take a closer look; Pinõn has large nutritious seeds, Juniper has moist berries, and there are many grasses and other hearty plants to munch on. Insects, reptiles, rodents, and even other birds provide plenty of food for the entire ecosystem. Some common birds you might see in the Winter include: Pinyon Jay, Western Bluebird and Raven. El Malpais National Conservation Area What started as a one-mile-loop walk to stretch the legs has hopefully given you much more. To learn more about the geology of this area, see samples of the fossils and formations, or identify birds and tracks you may have seen, please come in to the Ranger Station where the helpful staff can assist you in furthering your knowledge of El Malpais National Conservation Area. Summer: Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Mockingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird. Even if you didn’t see or hear a single animal or bird on your hike today, you can still find evidence that they are around. Look for tracks in the loose sand on and around the trail. You can also watch for scat. Identifying an animal by what it leaves behind is an important tool for biologists. Elk and Mule Deer have small pellets as droppings. Coyote and fox tend to leave their scat in the center of the trail as a way of marking their territory. It’s not unheard of to see these tracks along the trail: Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Ave. NE Pan American Bldg., Suite 330 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109 505/761-8700 or El Malpais Ranger Station 505/280-2918 or www.blm.gov/new-mexico BLM/NM/GI-11-04-8000 Rabbit 4" Coyote 2.5" Elk 4.5"-5.5" Bear 7"-9" Leave No Trace: Plan ahead and prepare - Travel and camp on durable surfaces - Dispose of waste properly - Leave what you find - Minimize campfire impacts - Respect wildlife - Be considerate of other visitors. T he Ranger Station Nature Trail guides the visitor through a unique landscape. Follow the 1-mile loop trail to the right at the trailhead and look for the plants, animals, and rock features described in this brochure. There are many interesting plants found here. Look around for plants you might not know and check in at the Ranger Station for more information. Arroyo Contact Zone An “arroyo” is the Spanish word for brook or wash. It is usually a dry river, creek or stream bed/gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. The first thing you might notice as you walk along the wooden steps is a dip in the trail. Although there is rarely water visible along this sandy, dusty landscape, this area shows the effects of water on the land. El Malpais has a semi-arid climate, getting between zero to15 inches of precipitation per year. Some of that moisture occurs in annual snowfall. However, in the summer it is common to get thunderstorms that produce large amounts of water very quickly. The dry, baked land around you has no time to absorb such rain, and deep “arroyos” are formed. The edges of an arroyo can be quite steep when plant roots hold down the soil. Look around and see if you can find plants holding down the soil or debris that looks like it was washed to where it is now. PJ Uplands As you start up the switchbacks of the trail, stop and take a look at the plants around you. Most Piñon Pine of the trees found here are Pinõn Pine (Pinus edulis) and One-seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma). You can readily tell them apart by their leaf structure. These trees have adapted leaves with small surface areas to avoid having broad leaves that would be difficult to sustain in the baking sun and dry winds. The Pinõn Pine has adapted short needles (about an inch long) in bundles of two. Junipers have evolved leaf scales—neither a needle nor a flat leaf, thus allowing them to survive the elements. You are standing on a geologic timeline. Here, the Zuni sandstone is from the Jurassic period—about 160 million years ago. It was deposited in a desert One-seed Juniper made from windblown sand. The colors vary from yellowish-grey to tan. On top of this layer is a “white zone,” known as a geologic unconformity. Unconformities are gaps in the geologic rock record. They are surfaces of contact between older rocks and younger sedimentary rocks, formed due to erosion or lack of sediment deposition over extended periods of time. Most of the rock layers that were once here are now missing. Where did they go? The Dakota Sandstone above that is from the Cretaceous period (about 80 million years ago). This rock was once sand deposited by a vast inland sea. The sandstone here is usually a dark to light grey color. Trail split Here y
Alien Run Mountain Bike Trails NORTHWEST NEW MEXICO The 7,242-acre wilderness is in a badland area of rolling, water-carved clay hills. The area, rich in fossils, has yielded numerous specimens important to science. Alien Run Mountain Bike Trails Ojito Wilderness Alien Run consists of three looped mountain bike trails that cover more than 26 miles. The original loop and the Outer Limits Trail encircle a rumored UFO crash site. The trail features swooping flow trail, rim riding, slickrock sections, and tight turns through the piñon-juniper woodland. The Alien Run Outer Limits extension features rocky climbs and plunging downhills. The trail is known for including one of the largest selections of slickrock in New Mexico. Deep, meandering arroyos offer miles of terrain in which to wander amid canyons, cliffs, and some colorful geological formations. Summer monsoon rains often provide just enough rain to make this area flourish with blooming desert plants. Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Angel Peak Scenic Area Within this 10,000-acre area rises the scenic Angel Peak, at nearly 7,000 feet. A short nature trail leads to an overlook of blue and gray shale badlands formed from floodplains of ancient rivers. Angel Peak has three picnic areas with ADA accessible toilets. The campground has nine sites available for tent camping. There are ADA accessible restrooms. No drinking water or electrical hookups are available. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness A favorite with photographers for its hoodoo formations, the wilderness is a remote, desolate area of steeply eroded and colorful badlands. Time and natural elements have created strange rock formations here and some of the most extraordinary scenery in New Mexico. Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area More than 800 acres are available for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts in this sand dune area. Glade Run Recreation Area The Glade Run Recreation Area offers many miles of motorized and nonmotorized trails through piñon-juniper woodland with sandstone bluffs, sandy arroyos, and badlands. Jeeps, utility-type vehicles (UTVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, mountain bikes, equestrians, and hikers will all find a place to play. Ten designated campsites are available at the Brown Springs Campground, which has shelters, picnic tables, campfire rings, two vault toilets, a group shelter with large grill, and a tot lot track for kids on dirt bikes or ATVs. Designated and dispersed camping in the recreation area requires a free permit from the BLM. The recreation area is known for its national class rock crawling, having hosted the Grand Nationals Rock Crawling Championships for many years. The oldest continuously held mountain bike race in the United States, the Road Apple Rally, also takes place here. Details are available in site descriptions or on the map side charts. Bring plenty of water for you and your pet. Many BLM sites do not offer facilities or drinking water. NM Statewide Recreation Brochure BLM/NM/GI-19/006+8000 Looking for a map, book, permit, or recommendation to explore your public lands? Visit the Public Lands Information Center at the BLM’s New Mexico State Office; 301 Dinosaur Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Call (505) 954-2002 or (877) 276-9404 (toll free), or visit www.publiclands.org. Head Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area Follow us on: www.facebook.com/blmnewmexico www.facebook.com/blmlascruces www.youtube.com/blmnewmexico www.flickr.com/photos/blmnewmexico www.twitter.com/blmnewmexico Bureau of Land Management BLM New Mexico State Office 301 Dinosaur Trail Santa Fe, NM 87508 (505) 954-2000 www.blm.gov/new-mexico/recreation In the “Land of Enchantment,” the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees outdoor recreation and many other activities on more than 13 million acres of public land. New Mexico’s public lands are diverse, encompassing high deserts, rugged lava flows, badlands, deep canyons, wild and scenic rivers, wilderness, and other distinctive landscapes. The majority of BLM-managed public land is open for recreational use, and opportunities abound for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, horseback riding, off-roading, and other activities. The BLM also manages National Conservation Lands (NCLs), public lands with exceptional qualities. These special areas are managed to conserve and protect nationally significant landscapes recognized for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. They also contain some of New Mexico’s most spectacular landscapes. New Mexico’s NCL units include four national monuments; two national conservation areas; three national scenic and historic trails; two wild and scenic rivers; 18 wilderness areas; and 47 wilderness study areas (WSAs). Those WSAs with legal public access are listed at the end of each mapback section. WSAs are places that are characterized by “naturalness” and that Congress is considering designating and protecting as wilderness—places that offer outstanding opportuni

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