El Malpais - The Caves

The El Calderon Area offers a sampling of all of the features that make El Malpais so unique: lava tubes, cinder cones, and lava flows! Two lava tube caves – Junction Cave and Xenolith Cave – are located just off the El Calderon trail. Caving permits are required to enter all lava tube caves at El Malpais National Monument.

Easy hike with little gradient and for a change, little wind.  Lots of holes in the ground with the most impressive being Twin Sinks. Two distinct lava tube openings just yards apart. Caves were all gated at their entrances. My understanding is the reason being a combination of the White Nose fungus which has devastated the US bat population and the ever-present brainless tourist. It was a pleasant late afternoon stroll with no vehicles at the trailhead and no one on the trail.

"No one tests the depth of a river with both feet. -- Ashanti Proverbs --"