Skywatch Friday – El Malpais National Monument

So continuing from last week, after I rode in the 4th of July Parade in Round Valley, Arizona I needed to head back home right afterward. A friend suggested a different route than what the apple maps app suggested. He said turn off at Quemado, New Mexico, head north to Interstate 40. There are some cliffs you will run into that I think you might like.

So I drove to Quemado and hung a left just past this beautiful little church and headed north.

And drove miles of road looking like this. Beautiful and desolate but no cliffs to be seen. After a long while I came to El Malpais National Monument and area of beautiful lava flows including lava tubes and other interesting things. No photos of any of that though. I was looking for cliffs. Pretty soon I came to an area where the lava flows came up against cliffs. And my friend was right, the cliffs took my breath away.

Truly spectacular with great skies that day.

Great views everywhere I looked.


And the La Ventana Arch just off the roadway. Aptly named as La Ventana means the window in English.


This shot is from the trail that gets you pretty close to the arch.

Lots of cactus in the area. This might be a cholla cactus.


I loved the blooms on the cactus.

So I loved the arch and the El Malpais. I was kind of mad at myself as well because I lived for years in Albuquerque, just 100 or so miles away and had no clue about the cliffs, the arch, the Malpais or any of that. Of course, that was back in the day when I was young and dumb, (I am now old and dumb.)

What a beautiful place this is. I intend to come back when I have more time.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World

20 thoughts on “Skywatch Friday – El Malpais National Monument

  1. Sallie

    Fabulous day of travel from the beautiful chapel right through to those amazing cliffs. They really are breathtaking and especially I know coming across something that amazing after a long day of nothing much but road is especially wonderful. I thought we’d been pretty much everywhere in NM, one of our all time favorite states for RVing, but we somehow must have missed Malpais Cliffs . … Don’t be mad at yourself for not visiting them when you were younger — it’s lucky you saved some new experiences for later. You don’t want to grow old and jaded. (You’re not old yet by the way — I don’t think anyone younger than I am can say that. Which pretty much covers everyone else I know.)

  2. Penelope Notes

    Those cliffs are spectacular and I love the “window” and the cactus flower that reminds me of a wild rose. You’ve made me wonder what finds are near me that I have missed. 🙂

  3. Eileen Thai

    Don’t get mad. Get even. And you did by listening to your friend and kept going until you found those cliffs.
    That road seems endless. Wonder how long did it take to see civilization (gas station especially)?

  4. Eileen

    Gorgeous scenes and photos from your trip.
    I love the cute church, the cliffs, the arch and the cactus blooms.
    Take care, have a great day and happy weekend.

  5. Lisa

    The cliffs are stunning, and the clouds were spectacular to go with them. I love cactus flowers, they are among the prettiest of all flowers. People don’t give cactus the credit they deserve!

  6. Alana

    The rock formations were so interesting and photogenic. As for the church, was it just me, or did anyone else see a face (bells were the eyes, etc)? Loved the cactus flowers, too – you had good timing.

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