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, buzzards, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows and golden eagles.
Camping: The recreation area has 19 campsites with picnic shelters, tables, grills, and potable water at each site. RV electric hookups are available at 14 sites. Two sites are wheel chair accessible. The full facility bathroom is fully accessible and has showers. Vault toilets are available throughout the park.
Trails: 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.
Visitor Center: 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.
Location / Access: Four miles west of the Town of Carrizozo on US 380.
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nice tent area
We went tent camping a couple of years ago at this campground. I visited the recreation area last month again just for picnicking, it still looks very well kept. The tent area is really nice. Behind the campground is a lava field. When it rains, the spiders come out. You might see a tarantula or vinegaroon.
This is a developed, hosted campground with 19 sites. Many of the sites have water and electric. There is a dump station, hot showers and flush toilets and even a small visitor's center/shop. Campsites also have paved pads, sheltered picnic tables and grills. There is not a lot of privacy, since there are not many natural features to separate the sites. Campsites without electric are $12, and with electric are $18 per night. The town of Carrizozo is less than ten miles away if you need groceries.
I visited on a weekday in September, 2008 and there were many empty campsites, ...