The Bad Place that is Good
In Spanish, "El Mal Pais" roughly translates to "The Bad Place" (though normally one would expect to see it expressed as "El Pais Mal"), but in reality El Malpais is a wonderful series of natural features carved into the rocks and even underground (there are lava tubes) that isn't that far off the beaten track near Grants, New Mexico.
Yet, despite its status as a national monument, and despite reasonably good signs telling people where to go, the vast majority of people seem satisfied to simply drive though on the Interstate, and never actually come south a few miles to visit this place.
While the landscape is spectacular, it also creates some interesting images as to just what must have happened to early Spanish explorers here to create that name.
The most famous feature here is one of New Mexico's largest natural arches, but there are a number of other features here. While there are hiking trails, please remember that you are located over 7,000 feet. If you have not adjusted to the altitude yet, you will want to take it slow and easy, and rest when you feel the need. This is not a place where you want to be passing out due to altitude sickness.