El Malpais NM

Birds of Interest

Bald eagles and golden eagles soar in the winter, migrating songbirds dart through in spring and fall, and year-long residents like white-throated swifts and canyon wrens are just some of the more than 190 bird species you’ll encounter at El Malpais National Monument. A variety of habitats–such as sandstone cliffs, shortgrass prairies, scrubland, and rugged lava flows–offer a variety of birds to watch any time of year!

About El Malpais National Monument

See all hotspots at El Malpais National Monument

Nick-named “the badlands” by Spanish explorers as they detoured around forbidding and unrelenting flows of basalt, El Malpais National Monument is home to one of the most complete sequences of lava flows in the country. Preserved within this harsh yet starkly beautiful landscape are many lava tube cave systems, cinder cones, spatter cones, and other intriguing volcanic features. Exploring this surreal region can be done via scenic drives, overlooks, and short trails. For a more immersive experience in the volcanic mysteries of El Malpais, rugged backcountry and lava tube caves are yours to explore.

Great birdwatching sites along NM-117 include Sandstone Bluffs, La Ventana Natural Arch, and Narrows Picnic Areas. NM-53 on the west side of the monument offers access to the El Calderon area, Zuni-Acoma Trail, and County Road 42. Summer monsoons create vernal, or seasonal, ponds along roadsides that attract visitors such as great blue herons. Always be aware of your surroundings while bird watching.

Notable Trails

The AllTrails website has a description and map of a hike at El Malpais National Monument.

Content from El Malpais National Monument Official Website