We decided to head towards Carlsbad Caverns and stopped for the night at Valley of Fires near the town of Carrizozo, NM. We had heard that this was a great place to visit and camp. Valley of Fires is the site of a relatively recent lava flow. This event from 1,500 to 2,000 years ago may be the most recent in the continental United States. It covers 125 square miles and is more than 160 feet deep at its deepest point.
You can tell from the pictures that the earth is a very dark color for miles around. As you look out over this vast valley of the lava flow, the terrain has significant vegetation. This is due to how porous the lava is and surprisingly it is very conducive to plant life.
Some very dedicated people created a trail through the lava flow so that you can examine it up-close. It is called the Malpais Trail, Spanish for Bad Land. Some of the types of lava flows are named from the Hawaiian language. For example, the very fluid lava, like this one, is called Pahoehoe.
The folks at Valley of Fires were especially friendly and the location was very peaceful. This would be a great place to spend a few days parked overlooking the valley.
If you plan to visit, there are 19 sites, some with 50 amp service. While it is first come first served, we had no problem getting a site arriving around lunch time. The host did tell us that the campground often fills up, but it did not on this October night. The 50 amp sites are $18 a night. We thought the back-in sites around #10 had good views.
Leaving Valley of Fires heading east, you go by the birthplace of Smokey Bear and the town of Lincoln, home of the historic Lincoln War and where Billy the Kid became famous.