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West Malpais Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images

Location

Access: Hole in the Wall Trails (south) From Interstate 40, drive NM 117 south approximately 34 miles to CR 42. Drive northwest on CR 42 approximately 2¼ miles to the intersection with a road (a West Malpais Wilderness sign is located at this intersection). Turn right (north) and drive approximately 4.4 miles to a locked gate, which is the trailhead for the Hole in the Wall. Note that at 3½ miles you will encounter an intersection with a road leading to the right which looks better maintained. This road leads to a private residence and only authorized vehicles are allowed on it. The Hole in the Wall trails are occasionally used by the rancher with motorized vehicles, under permit, for livestock grazing management.

Hole in the Wall Trails (north) From Interstate 40, drive NM 53 south approximately 26 miles to CR 42. Drive CR 43 approximately 4½ miles to the Big Tubes Road. Drive this road 3.3 miles (passing the Big Tubes parking area at 2¾ miles, on the left) and take the left fork. Continue 1¼ miles and take the right fork just past a stock pond at the western edge of the lava flow. Continue 0.4 miles to the southeast and take the left fork, heading east. Continue 5.4 miles (crossing a cattle guard at 0.2 miles and entering the forested area at 1¾ miles) to the Cerro Encierro trailhead. Note that this is a very rough road and that the road and trailhead are located on National Park Service lands. Anyone wishing to park overnight should contact the National Park Service to inquire about requirements. The Hole in the Wall trails are occasionally used by the rancher with motorized vehicles, under permit, for livestock grazing management.

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) (east) The CDNST passes through the southern portion of the Wilderness. To reach the east side of the trail, from Interstate 40, drive NM 117 south approximately 34 miles to CR 42. Drive northwest on CR 42 approximately 2¼ miles to the intersection with a road (a West Malpais Wilderness sign is located at this intersection). Turn right (north) and drive approximately ½ mile to a point at which the CDNST crosses the road. There is no trailhead; you must look for rock cairns and posts marking the trail. Note that both the east and west ends of the trail are accessed from and connected by CR 42.

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (west) The CDNST passes through the southern portion of the Wilderness. From Interstate 40, drive NM 53 south approximately 26 miles to CR 42. Drive CR 42 approximately 22½ miles to a trailhead on the south side of the road. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road from the Wilderness. Note that both the east and west ends of the trail are accessed from and connected by CR 42.




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