Near Carrizozo is the stark Valley of Fires Recreation Area operated by the Bureau of Land Management. According to Native American legend a volcanic eruption about 1,000 years ago created a valley of fire here. When the lava cooled, a dark, jagged landscape remained. A ¾-mi trail penetrates the lava-flow area, which looks like a Star Trek backdrop and covers 44 mi (it's 5-mi wide in some places). Crevices and bowls trapping precious water nurture ocotillo and blooming cactus, creating natural landscaping along the well-maintained trail. The visitor center has a gift shop with souvenirs and books. Caving is allowed; get permits at the visitor center.
U.S. 380, 4 mi west of Carrizozo, Carrizozo, New Mexico, 88301, United States