Valley of Fires Recreation Area
Along the stretch of highway from Socorro to Alamogordo is the Valley of Fires, an ancient lava field. It was a surprisingly pleasant stop with a cement paved path winding through unique and beautiful scenery.
Sometimes small pit stops aren’t worth much. We weren’t sure that we wanted to stop at the Valley of Fires, but we were glad we did as it was a pleasant surprise. We recommend it if you are in the area. There is a nice path, which made for a quick and pleasant Sidetrack en route to a place like White Sands.
When we arrived, we parked thinking we were simply going to use the restroom and take some photos of the lava field from the overlook at the top of a hill. The view was beautiful. When we walked up, we immediately noticed the nice path below leading to the lava field. The Valley of Fires was not created by a volcano; rather it was the result of volcanic vents that formed in the ground approximately 5,000 years ago. Black slabs of the igneous rock are saturated with a variety of desert vegetation.
The entire trail is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly. The kids enjoyed following the path as it wound thru the lava field and was easy to navigate. The entire loop is about .75 miles long. It was fun leaving the trail, walking on the ancient lava, and examining the wavy flowing structure. The length of hike combined with the unique beauty of the scenery made it a perfect pit stop to stretch our legs. The way the trail wound around in a loop made me feel like I was on the path of a giant sized board game like Candyland (minus the candy. Darn). The landscape was dotted with many beautiful yuccas and similar plants which reminded me of the sort of plants you might see in a Dr. Seuss book. We could also see mountains framing the valley.
Southeast of Albuquerque, near Carrizozo, NM