For a memorable experience, visit El Malpais and the El Morro National Monuments in New Mexico. These two national monuments were preserved as part of the U.S. government’s antiquities program, and they are situated on the ancient east-west trail. While the ruins aren’t as well preserved as the ones found in other parts of the United States, the ruins are still impressive.
The ancient, richly-preserved petroglyphs on the rocks of El Malpais are among the world’s best preserved examples of pre-Columbian art. They are a well-preserved historical document. Every petroglyph tells a different story. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Zuni Indians inhabited the region and left their marks on the sandstone. In the later years, Spanish and American explorers discovered and explored these ruins.
The National Park Service manages the two monuments. The two monuments are located on NM 53, south of Grants. Both are accessible from Interstate 40, and there are two state highways that lead to both. NM Highway 117 is the quickest route and Exit 81 is the easiest way to access both. The other state highway that runs through the northwestern edge of the park, NM Highway 53, takes visitors down the east side of the Monument and is the easiest way to get there.
The lava fields of Zuni-Bandera lie to the east of the park. The resulting basalt flows are between seven and one million years old and are the primary source of water in the region. The ash-covered cinder cones are dotted with wind-blown silt. The sandstone cliffs are a great place to get close to the underground world.
Camping in El Morro is the best option if you want to camp near the ruins. The campsite has a number of sites, including Double Sinks and Junction Cave. Bat Cave is home to Mexican free-tailed bats in summer, and other types of bats live in the park year-round. Despite the lack of amenities in these national monuments, the camping grounds are a great place to explore the natural history of the area.
The two sites are located in a remote part of New Mexico. Neither is particularly accessible, so if you’re camping, you’ll need to travel to the nearby town. But if you want to spend the night in the wilderness, you can sleep under the lava and El Morro mesas. The mesas at both locations are a must-see!