Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway
Scenic driving, hiking, camping, picnicking, watchable wildlife. Because the Chain of Craters Byway is remote, outstanding recreational opportunities abound. Visit the BLM El Malpais NCA recreation website for more information.
To begin the byway from the south entrance, turn south onto NM 117 from I-40, approximately 5 miles east of Grants. County Road 42 begins approximately 35 miles from the NM 117 turnoff. To begin the byway from the north end, travel I-40 past Grants and take the San Rafael exit south. Travel on NM 53 approximately 25 miles. County Road 42 begins on the south side of NM 53.
Please be aware that the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway requires high-clearance vehicles. The road is not paved, although its dirt and gravel surface is routinely graded by the county. Grades, curves, and road surface can be negotiated with a two-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle without undue difficulty. During rain and snow seasons the road is likely to be impassable.