The La Ventana Arch is a spectacular sandstone arch located on the edge of the El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico. With a span of over 135 feet, it is one of the largest natural arches in the Four Corners area. These pictures were taken a couple of years ago, when Don and I were traveling in New Mexico, and all I can really remember is that on the day we hiked up the trail to get to the arch it was hotter than blazes (High 90’s), and there was almost no shade to get under. And to make matters worse, the Blue Goose overheated, and we had to let it cool down for a good hour before we continued our trip along the edge of the Colorado Plateau. We had lost almost all the water in the radiator. Thank goodness, Don is always good about bringing along a couple extra gallons of water for emergencies - so we filled her up, and at the next auto parts store we came to, Don replaced the radiator cap & thermostat.
Anyway. the trail getting to the arch was relatively short ( ½ mile round trip) with a slight uphill climb along a paved trail. There is a huge boulder alongside the trail which is quite colorful and must weigh several tons. It must have made quite a large sound when it calved off the edge of the plateau, and come to rest at the base of the cliff. We didn't get a chance to explore the lava fields across the Highway, but I have heard it is a land of cinder cones and shield volcanos. Apparently there are also several ice caves (lava tubes) to explore, but permits are required. The lava tubes in the Big Tube area on the edge of the Bandera Crater were created when the outside of a lava tube cooled while the inner currents continued to flow with hot molten lava that eventually ran dry leaving behind an empty lava tube. Very cool!
The lava field is quite expansive (35 miles wide X 60 miles long) with several trails to explore. If we ever get back to this area I would love to explore the 7 mile Zuni-Acoma trail which is an ancient indian route that crosses the lava fields between Highway 53 and 117. I suspect that the best time to visit the area would be from late fall to early spring before things get to hot.