There are plenty of prosperous tourist hotspots that city slickers will never shy away from, such as the Grand Canyon. These places typically receive all the attention they need, including accessible roads leading to and from, as well as public facilities to keep families at the peak of their comfort zone. However, there are numerous parks and national monuments, particularly in the state of New Mexico, that are kept out of the public eye. Perhaps this trend is how it's meant to be, especially for majestic masterpieces like El Malpais National Monument.
This territory seems to highlight the concept that "destruction leads to rebirth," as numerous volcanic eruptions over a course of a million years have created one of the most mind-boggling landscapes in the Desert Southwest. Spanish for the word "badlands," El Malpais has been mostly avoided by major civilizations (Spaniards and American pioneers) for centuries, and this trend shows no signs of abating. Although Native American populations chose not to settle within the center of this harsh terrain, many tribes like the Anasazi constructed mounds and pueblos in the nearby El Morro Valley. These ancient peoples frequently traveled along the El Malpais lava flows and celebrated the spiritual power they observed.
Nowadays, the land seems to captivate the minds of spiritualist travelers, yet conventional tourists will hardly find out-of-area brochures to attract them. Many of the roads that lead to the eye-catching overlooks and volcanic bluffs are inaccessible and highly eroded, yet determined visitors who accidentally stumble upon El Malpais and the beauty that encompasses it remain undeterred. Does this area need a government-funded boost to attract a broader audience? Or should the allure of this profound monument maintain its reputation as western New Mexico's best kept secret?