Lava anyone?

There is a special area that BLM manages four miles west of Carrizozo.  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.

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Satellite image of lava flow.

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View of lava on the ground.

The Malpais Nature Trail winds through the flow.  It is a great experience, but keep an eye out for rattle snakes.  I have seen a couple of impressive specimens near the trail in the past–the rodent populations keep them busy.  There is a modest visitor center.The recreation area has 19 campsites and a full facility bathroom with showers.

It is a rewarding place to visit about an hour and a half west of Roswell and 4 miles west of the UP mainline in Carrizozo.

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