Carrizozo Lava Flow Wilderness Study Area

The Carrizozo Lava Flow WSA is located in central New Mexico. This lava flow is believed to be one of the most recent lava flows in the continental United States, dating back 1,500 years. This is a flat plain but a rugged landscape nonetheless. The surface of the lava is extremely rough and broken by fractures, collapsed lava tubes, and pressure ridges. Sparse desert shrubs and grasses grow in the cracks providing an interesting contrast of green against the black lava. The area supports a remarkably diverse ecosystem, including melanistic species with fur or skin darker than is typical for their species since they live mostly on the dark lava. The landscape is difficult to traverse; consequently, the opportunity to find solitude is limitless.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips


Geographic Coordinates

33.66297806, -105.9713967


Access is from Highway 380, 4.5 miles west of Carrizozo. There are several pullouts on U.S. 380 from which you may hike southwest into the WSA on the lava flow.