Department of Transportation.
Chain of Craters Back Country Byway follows New Mexico Country Road 42. The byway in its entirety passes through the El Malpais National Monument, where you can see volcanic cinder cones. As you drive, you'll see sandstone bluffs to the east as well.
The area is not only beautiful to look upon, it is exciting to explore. Many visitors enjoy the bevy of hiking trails and camping sites that offer a true close-up of the region's natural, volcanically-shaped face.
Navigating the Byway:
To drive the byway, follow CR-42 for 36 miles.
To access the byway from the north, take I-40 through Grants, then take the San Rafael exit south. From there, take SR-53 for about 25 miles until you reach CR-42.
To access the byway from the south, turn south onto SR-117 from I-40, which is about 5 miles east of Grants. CR-42 begins about 35 miles from the SR-117 turnoff.