BLM New Mexico COVID-19 Information Update

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.

View the alert: BLM New Mexico COVID-19 Information Update

Chain of Craters Wilderness Study Area


Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87109

34.83284167, -108.2166667

From I-40 at the west end of Grants, turn south on Highway 53 (Exit 81) and drive about 26 miles. Turn south on County Road 42, about one mile after the Bandera Crater Ice Caves turnoff. County Road 42 passes through El Malpais National Monument for approximately 3 miles before entering BLM's El Malpais National Conservation Area. Continue approximately 15 miles to a Y intersection. Turn right and continue another half mile to where the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail crosses the road. Hike north on the trail (there is no trailhead, and the trail is marked with cairns) into the WSA.


Chain of Craters Wilderness Study Area

The Chain of Craters WSA is located in west-central New Mexico within the El Malpais National Conservation Area. This is a line of more than 25 cinder cones that was the result of magma finding a weak spot in the Earth's crust. The lower elevations are dominated by piсon and juniper woodland giving way to forests of ponderosa pine at higher elevations. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail passes through this WSA.