La Ventana Arch is actually located in the El Malpais Conservation Area, which borders upon the National Monument that is known by the same name. National Conservation Area boundaries commonly cover the grounds around National Monuments as an added layer of protection and preservation. The Mountains Of The Moon is another example of public lands that protected by both National Monument and Conservation Area status and this vast wilderness has a lot in common with El Malpais in one respect. Ancient volcanic activity and vast lava fields are the shared primary attraction, which is a showcase for geological extremes that naturally lure visitors in to take a closer look.
El Mailpais National Monument boasts one of the largest unspoiled black lava flow areas in the west and some of the most interesting points of interest can be found around the eastern edge of the lava field in the Conservation Area. La Ventana Arch is one such spot and this point of interest can easily be accessed with a passenger car. This grand sandstone arch is just a few miles south of the Sandstone Cliffs and Joe Skeen Campground on SR 117, so it is easy to find without a map. The parking area is small but adequate, because relatively few mainstream tourists meander to this lesser known place. There are facilities and plenty of shade trees for a picnic, which makes La Ventana Arch a nice choice for a day trip venture.
There is a short hiking trail through the pine thicket to a spot where La Ventana Arch comes into full view. This pale sandstone arch truly is massive in size and the naturally shady cool alcove underneath certainly is alluring on a hot day. The best times to view or photograph La Ventana Arch is early in the day or sunset, because the bright sunlight glowing on the pale sandstone is absolutely blinding in the late afternoon. With the majestic Sandstone Cliffs being just down the road, an entire day can be spent in this end of the park without getting bored. La Ventana is one of the great arches of the west, so be sure to chalk this El Malpais point of interest high on the list!
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