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Experience The Otherworldly Valley Of Fires, New Mexico

Lava flow at the Valley of Fires

Valley of Fires Recreation Area in New Mexico, not to be confused with the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, is known largely as home to one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States. More than that, though, this area is a sign of how resilient Mother Earth truly can be.

Located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow, the Valley is home to much more than ancient molten rock. It’s here that nature has blossomed back to life in the New Mexico Valley desert, bringing forth a unique experience for outdoorsy folks. If you’re in search of a place unlike any you’ve seen, you’ll want to head towards the Valley of Fires.

Four miles west of Carrizozo and about 90 minutes from Roswell, the Valley isn’t totally in the middle of nowhere. Valley of Fires Recreation Area can sustain RV and tent camping as well as day use for visitors who want to check it out for a short while.

Valley of Fires Hiking Trails and Location Details

Lava flow at the Valley of Fires
Irina K. / AdobeStock

Address: 6158 US-380, Carrizozo, NM 88301

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Valley of Fires is home to miles and miles of nature trails for visitors to enjoy. The most popular trail is the 3/4 mile-long Malpais Nature Trail, which brings you out onto the flows themselves. It is also paved and accessible.

Ashley's TreeHouse at El Mistico Ranch
Ashley’s TreeHouse at El Mistico Ranch / VRBO

Camping in the desert is always an experience. Sites here are complete with picnic shelters, a visitor center, a gift shop, and grilling facilities. You’ve got the makings of an excellent visit to this incredible ecosystem built upon lava flows.

If you aren’t planning on camping at Valley of Fires, there are a lot of options available on VRBO. You could stay at one of the few motels in Carrizozo, but wouldn’t it be a lot more fun to stay somewhere like Ashley’s TreeHouse or the Freya Geo Dome Suite? Both are located at El Mistico Ranch, just a short drive away, offering more class and independence than any motel!

See Related: Best Things to Do in New Mexico & Places to Visit

Natural History of Valley of Fires

Carrizozo Malpais Lava Flow in New Mexico
Irina K. / Adobe Stock

We’ve already mentioned that the Valley of Fires is home to one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States. That came about roughly 5,000 years ago.

Little Black Peak erupted, and its lava flowed dozens of miles into the Tularosa Basin. Once the molten lava cooled, it left behind flows spanning 125 square miles that are…

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