Outside the South

Petroglyph National Monument

Located in the city limits of Albuquerque is Petroglyph National Monument. The Monument stretches 17 miles along the city’s West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city’s western horizon.

Related: The Duke City {Albuquerque, NM}

Petroglyph National Monument protects various cultural and natural resources, including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites, and an estimated 24,000 images carved by Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers.

The Monument offers four different hiking trails. Three of the trails allow for petroglyph viewing, and one trail does not. You can drive directly to the petroglyph viewing trails and begin your walk or hike immediately. The majority of the trails are made of sand and are in the open sun. So, as you plan your trip, be sure to include sand-approved shoes, pack a hat, and bring plenty of water.

The Rinconada Canyon trail allows the hiker views of a variety of up to 300 petroglyphs. The trail is 1.1 miles long to the back of the canyon (2.2 miles roundtrip) and is moderately strenuous. The Piedras Marcadas Canyon trail is 1.5 miles round-trip and allows visitors to see up to 400 petroglyphs.

The Boca Negra Canyon is the monument’s only fully developed area providing visitors with restroom facilities, shade, and a drinking fountain. There are three trails (Mesa Point, Macaw, and Cliff Base) in this part of the monument that provide visitors with views of approximately 100 petroglyphs. I checked out Mesa Point trail.

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