The Valley of Fire Recreational Area provides a fun hiking and camping experience for any van lifer in New Mexico. The recreational area is centered around a 5000-year-old lava flow perched on a bluff. The campground offers great views of the surrounding lava field and desert environment.
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 four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan desert. Animals include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards. It’s also a virtual birdwatcher’s paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, hawks, gnatcatchers, cactus wrens, sparrows, and golden eagles.
The Malpais Nature Trail leaves and returns from the campground. The trail is .9 miles long and extends into the lava field. This trail is great for walking, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas.
The recreation area has 19 RV campsites and 6 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.
It’s a privilege to have the Valley of Fire Recreational Area for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.