This monument preserves 114,277 acres of which 109,260 acres are federal and 5,017 acres are private. El Malpais means “the badlands” but contrary to its name this unique area holds many surprises, many of which researchers are now unraveling. Volcanic features such as lava flows, cinder cones, pressure ridges and complex lava tube systems dominate the landscape. Closer inspection reveals unique ecosystems with complex relationships. Sandstone bluffs and mesas border the eastern side, providing access to vast wilderness. Located just south of I-40 at Exit 85, the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center is your public lands gateway for the region. Big RVs and oversize vehicles will fit in our large parking lot. A picnic area next to the front entrance is the perfect place to relax and plan your next adventure in El Malpais, on Mount Taylor, or in the wilds of the conservation area.