Valley of Fires recreation area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan desert. Animals include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barbary sheep, and lizards. It's also a virtual birdwatcher's paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows and golden eagles.
The fully accessible three-fouths mile Malpais Nature Trail with interpretive displays starts at the group shelter and leads the visitor into the lava flow. The trail is paved in its entirety.
The Valley of Fires Visitor Center has books, postcards, t-shirts, and information about public lands in New Mexico.
The Overlook Vista is a good place to take photos and get a good overview of the lava.
All visitors at Valley of Fires Recreation Area are required to pay an entrance fee. Please be prepared to show your hard copy pass or digital pass on your mobile device.
Passes are non-transferrable, non-refundable, not replaceable if lost or stolen, and are void if altered or reproduced. This pass is valid until 11:59 PM of the date listed on the pass.