The Department of the Interior’s current COVID-19 policy incorporates CDC guidance. As CDC science-based guidance changes, our policy will adapt. Visitors have always been encouraged by DOI to review CDC guidance when making their plans to recreate responsibly. CDC guidance indicates that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations. Unvaccinated people must wear a mask indoors in DOI buildings at all times and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation and in healthcare settings on DOI lands. We will continue to ask visitors to follow CDC guidance to recreate responsibly.
The latest information on changes to facilities and services in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available here.
The West Malpais Wilderness is a flat landscape of 18,000 year old volcanic lava flows. The southeastern portion of the wilderness is a grassland with expansive views. The western portion is a piñon-juniper woodland and the northern portion is characterized by ponderosa pine. The most distinctive landform within the West Malpais Wilderness is a 6,700-acre kīpuka (a Hawaiian term meaning island of fertile ground) in the north part of the wilderness called Hole-in-the-Wall. Hole-in-the-Wall is encircled by jagged basalt flows. The Wilderness is located within the El Malpais National Conservation Area.