Petroglyph National Monument
“A Landscape of Symbols” awaits your group at Bernalillo County’s Petroglyph National Monument, a 17-mile long landmark extending to the West Mesa. This site is made up of a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city’s western horizon, an archaeological site with thousands of prehistoric Native American drawings found scattered across stone walls. This monument is actually considered to be one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America!
The designs and symbols carved into the volcanic rocks here are from Native American tribes and Spanish Settlers from around 400-700 years ago. These engravings serve as a truly ‘valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound special significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers.’
While here your group can experience the sights from any of the many viewing trails, a few of the more popular ones including Boca Negra, a 2.2-mile hike with over 100 petroglyphs to view, Rinconada, 1.5 miles with 300 petroglyphs, or Piedras Marcadas, with 400. There is also the general Volcanoes Day Use Area, providing about 1.4 miles of hiking and viewing space. During your viewing hikes be sure to take stock of all the native desert plants and animals, this stop providing a unique local geography and biology session. See prickly pears and sand sage alongside local wildlife like the rattlesnake and desert and slate millipedes. You will also see several interesting volcanic cones throughout the narrow corridor.