La Ventana Arch

La Ventana natural arch
A short, easy hike to New Mexico's second-largest natural arch. If you are in the area, make the short stop needed to see the arch.

Hike data:

Controlling agency: Bureau of Land Management; El Malpais National Conservation Area
Region: West-central; Cebolla Wilderness.
start: 6998ft; 2133m end: 6998ft; 2133m
min: 6998ft; 2133m max: 6998ft; 2133m
elevation gain/loss: 19ft; 6m.
No value
Length: 0.25mi; 0.40km.
surface: paved
condition: Wide
ease of following: Easy
obstacles: None
Fee: $0.00.
Season: All year. Snow in winter will be a problem only right after a snowstorm; if you can drive the road, the trail is probably OK.
Dogs: Unknown.
Bikes: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: Unknown.
Trailhead facilities: trash can(s).
Hike attractions: geology, scenery.

When we hiked it:

Date: 2000-09-17
Time it took us: 0:20.
Usage (people/hour): 0.00. People per hour unrecorded. The arch is popular. However it takes so little time to hike that you will likely not see anybody else except on busy weekends.
Cleanliness: 9.


Waypoint Type Description
LAVNTHTrailheadLa Ventana Arch trailhead
LAVTARScenic pointLa Ventana Arch trail end (viewpoint for arch)


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
El Malpais Recreation Map and Guide BLM 2008 1:100000 Y from Amazon (purchase) Great overview map for El Malpais area, including showing land ownership.
Geologic Map of El Malpais Lava Field and Surrounding Areas, Cibola County, NM USGS (Charles Maxwell) 1986 1:62500 Y No online copies. For sale at the three visitor centers (NPS, BLM, Northern NM) around El Malpais.
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the trailhead:

From I-40, take exit 89 at NM 117. Head south to mile marker 39 (about 17.4 miles), where the turnoff to the parking area for the trailhead is.
No short text

About the hike:

No short text
Starting from the trailhead, follow the paved trail out to a sign talking about the formation of the arch. From here, the trail turns to dirt, but remains easy to follow. A few more minutes of walking and you are as close as you can get to the arch (GPS: LAVTAR N 34.869833 W 107.889540). The view from this closest point is what you see pictured here.

Plants we saw along the trail:

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