Our next stay was at Valley of Fire BLM Park which is 4 miles west of Carrizozo, New Mexico on Hwy 380. After 380 and 70 (to Ruidoso) separated, the road was a bit rough for quite a ways. We ran into a heavy rainstorm that slowed us to a crawl but fortunately it only lasted only about 10 minutes.
Valley of Fires is a nice park with water and electric hookups, covered picnic tables, and garbage cans at each site. They also have nice tent areas. Mary Jane and I shared a double space which was no problem. They were having a water leak problem while we were there so the water was off most of the time but they turned it on each morning so you could fill your tanks.
There is a visitor's center and gift store and a couple of great camphosts.
These are the tent sites with parking places and fenced areas for each site.
The tent areas sit lower than the RV spaces and are more sheltered.
In addition to being centrally located for visiting numerous places within an hours drive, the big draw is the Malpais Nature Trail. The geology in this area is really unique. You drive across the high desert plain and then you come upon this volcanic flow. This is probably the youngest lava flow in the continental U.S. as it is only 1500 to 2000 years old.
The lava spewed from volcanic vents in the northern end on at least two occasions and flowed south along the floor of th Tularosa Basin for 44 miles. It covered the valley floor and occastionally would surround areas of higher ground forming islands of older rocks called kipukas. The campground is on one of the larger kipukas and is composed of sandstone and soil.
There is a really nice trail leading out into the volcanic area. The smooth or ropey-looking lava is called Pahoehoe. There are also small areas of a'a (pronounced ah--ah. The lava is more than 160 feet thick near the center.
We didn't see any of the Barbary sheep or mule deer that live on the lava flow but Claudia saw a ring-tailed cat and I saw this little guy.
This is a great example of the ropey lava.
These are older rocks surrounded by the lava.
This was a nice place to camp in spite of the water problems. Since we could run off our water tanks, it really didn't bother us much. It was nice and quiet.