Valley of Fires
Valley of Fires recreation area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is 4 to 6 miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires looks like barren rock, but as you walk through the nature trail you'll see many varieties of flowers, cacti, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan desert. Animals include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards. It's also a birdwatcher's paradise, with the chance great horned owls, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows and golden eagles.
Know Before You Go
- Day Use - one person in vehicle, $3.00.
- Day Use - two or more in vehicle, $5.00.
- Tent Camping - $7.00
- RV Camping (13 sites)
- with water & electric, $18.00.
- without water & electric, $12.00.
- dump fee - $15.00
- Group Shelter - group use, $25.00.
- Tour Bus - 15 or more persons on board, $15.00.
- To make payment with QR codes you must scan the QR code within the Recreation.gov app.
- America The Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes are sold here. Interagency Access Passes, issued to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of any age who have been medically determined to have a permanent disability that severely limits one or more major life activities, are also available at no cost.
- Quiet hours from 10:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.
- No hunting.
- No Off-Highway-Vehicle riding.
- No shooting inside of the recreation area.
- Some sites can be reserved through Recreation.gov! Other sites are first come, first served.
- The recreation area has 19 RV campsites and six tent camping sites with picnic shelters, tables, grills, and potable water at each site. RV electric hookups are available at 14 sites. Two sites are wheelchair accessible. The full facility bathroom is fully accessible and has showers. Vault toilets are available throughout the park.
- The fully accessible Malpais Nature Trail with interpretive displays starts at the group shelter and leads the visitor into the lava flow. The trail is paved and has a guide brochure.
- The Valley of Fires Visitor Center has books, postcards, t-shirts, and information about public lands in New Mexico. Book titles range from geology to the history of the area to travel guides to plant and animal identification. Other gifts are also available.
- The visitor center hours may vary, please call in advance.
This campground features a 3/4-mile paved Malpais Nature Trail with interpretive displays. The trail leads the visitor from the group shelter through the lava flow and back to the group shelter. Some of the interpretive sites have 3-D tactile elements, including lava rocks and sculptures of bats and lizards, with additional features coming that will be useful for visitors who have vision impairments or are neurodivergent.
The visitors center, which is staffed by volunteers on the weekends, has one accessible parking space and an accessible toilet. There are four other accessible vault toilets; several easy-push water spigots distributed throughout the campground; and accessible showers (two for men and two for women. Flush toilets are located down the road from the visitors center. There are also two accessible group shelters - one at the beginning of the nature trail and the other at the far end of the campground near the tent sites - and two accessible campsites. Refer to the brochure for placement of these sites in the campground.
The two accessible campsites are Campsite 4, which is close to the entrance, visitors center and one of the accessible vault toilets, and Campsite 12, which is farther into the campground, near the overview parking lot. Both campsites have an accessible parking spot; a concrete pad; an accessible picnic table; 50-amp electrical plug-ins; and grills/fire pits. Campsite 12 is reservable via recreation.gov, and Campsite 4 is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Service animals, like other animals, must be kept on a leash to keep them safe from wildlife, cacti and sharp lava rocks.
Four miles west of the Town of Carrizozo on US 380.