State: New Mexico
Address 1: P.O. Box 871
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 19
Full Hook: Yes
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, barberry sheep, and lizards. It’s also a virtual birdwatcher’s paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, buzzards, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows and golden eagles.
Camping: The recreation area has 19 campsites with picnic shelters, tables, grills, and potable water at each site. RV electric hookups are available at 14 sites. Two sites are wheel chair accessible. The full facility bathroom is fully accessible and has showers. Vault toilets are available throughout the park.
Trails: The fully accessible Malpais Nature Trail with interpretive displays starts at the group shelter and leads the visitor into the lava flow. The trail is paved and has a guide brochure.
Visitor Center: The Valley of Fires Visitor Center has books, postcards, t-shirts, and information about public lands in New Mexico. Book titles range from geology to the history of the area to travel guides to plant and animal identification. Other gifts are also available.
Location / Access: Four miles west of the Town of Carrizozo on US 380.