Sandstone Bluff Overlook

Scout Route
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In New Mexico's El Malpais National Monument, Sandstone Bluff Overlook is a short dirt road with a big payoff. Ancient lava flows lie below towering sandstone bluffs. Early Spanish explorers named the area el malpais, or the badlands. The area was well-known and significant to the Zuni, Acoma, and Laguna. Later, Americans came to the area, as evidenced by the ruins of the Garrett homestead on the drive to the bluffs. The striking dichotomy of the buff-colored sandstone against the black lava below makes the short drive on the highly washboarded road worthwhile.

While there is a vault toilet and picnic tables, camping is not permitted at the overlook. Joe Skeen Campground is a mile south. The free campground has ten sites with shelters, picnic tables, and vault toilets, but no water. Water is available at the El Malpais Visitor Center one mile north. The visitor center is usually open on weekends.

The impressive La Ventana Arch is a few miles south along Highway 117.