|View of La Ventana Arch.|
|Reading elk tracks.|
|A dusting of snow makes the cracks and fissues of the lava pop out like a 3D picture.|
How can their be enough soil for trees to find enough space to root down to hold themselves against the winds up here?
|Wonder at the trees growing on top of this rock.|
|Why are the lichen so many colors?|
|Can you find it?|
Finally reaching the view of La Ventana Arch, second largest natural arch in New Mexico. CDT hikers climb down here, but I am very glad we don’t have to since it looks so steep. Instead, we turn around and retrace our steps back the way we’ve come.
Overall, this is a wonderful winter hike!
Stop by the El Malpais Visitors Center (off I-40) or El Malpais Ranger Station (on 117) to pick up information about this hike.
The trailhead is at the entrance of the South Narrows picnic area, about 21 miles south of I-40 on NM 117. This is very accessible even in winter. 117 is paved, and though the parking area is gravel and can be muddy, you don’t have to travel far to park.
From the South Narrows parking area, a trail gradually climbs the 500 feet up to the rim of the sandstone, following the rim for 4 miles (8 miles roundtrip).
Note that La Ventana arch is shaded in the morning. The sun finally lights it up late in the day.
CDT hikers take this as an unofficial scenic alternate off the Cebolla Alternate roadwalk along 117.