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Petroglyph National Monument – New Mexico
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Overview
Location

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sights

Thousands of petroglyphs, wildlife, volcanoes

Distance

Depends on what trails you hike. Some trails are short and others are more than a mile in length

Parking Lot Elevation

5132 ft

Summit Elevation

N/A

Elevation Gain/Loss

Varies slightly

Time Required

1+ hours

Pets

Welcome in all areas except the Boca Negra Canyon area. Must be leashed.

Fees

No entrance fees except for the Boca Negra Canyon which is $1 per single vehicle on the weekdays and $2 on the weekends. Commercial vehicle prices are from $25-50 depending on how many passengers you have.

Water Info

Bring water.

Best Season

Spring or Fall. Summer is really hot

Hours

Open year round.

Sun Exposure

Very little shade

Trail Condition

Good dirt trails

Restrooms

At the Visitor Center, Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon and also the Volcano area.

Visitor Center

Yes. Please check out the GPS Coordinates above.

Camping

Not allowed

Food

Bring your own meals and snacks

Equipment

Bring a hat, sunglasses, good hiking shoes, water and camera.

GPS Coordinates:

Petroglpyh National Monument (Visitor Center): 35.138869°, -106.711117°
Volcanoes: 35.135890°, -106.772443°
Piedras Marcadas Canyon – parking lot: 35.188681°, -106.685697°
Boca Negra Canyon: 35.160959°, -106.718309°
Rinconada Canyon: 35.125252°, -106.733173°

Trail Map


Driving Directions

Directions to the Visitor Center.


The Trail:

NOTE – If you put in “Petroglyph National Monument” to your GPS you might be led to the national monument headquarters.  This is NOT the Visitor Center.  Please use the GPS coordinates above for the Visitor Center to find the correct area.

Petroglyph National Monument is located on the west side of Albuquerque New Mexico which features more than 25,000 petroglpyhs.  We didn’t have a lot of time to explore all of the trails (we were trying to fit this trek in before we went to the airport) but we did stop at Piedras Marcadas Canyon and also the Visitor Center.  I would like to come back to check out the volcanoes and more of the petroglyphs.

The monument is set up in a few areas with the largest being where the Visitor Center is located.  The entire monument is located right next to houses and subdivisions so it’s kind of strange to walk behind someone’s home exploring the petroglyphs but we thoroughly enjoyed the sheer amount of rock art which was literally everywhere.  It seemed that every rock had some sort of drawing on it from hand prints, faces, depictions of the sun, moon, stars and more.

We learned that the drawings were carved by Native Americans and also the Spanish explorers.

—–

We started exploring from the Piedras Marcadas Canyon area.  This parking lot was kind of hard to find but we had a GPS unit and when we plugged in “Petroglyph National Monument” it gave us the location to the park headquarters which is NOT the visitor center.  The Piedras Marcadas Canyon parking lot is located adjacent to a few businesses and even a large subdivision.  You will see the national monument sign along with some information kiosks so you will know that you are in the right area.

Petroglpyh National Monument

Parking lot at Piedras Marcadas Canyon

Parking lot at Piedras Marcadas Canyon

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Yep, this is the trail

Yep, this is the trail

There is an easy loop trail here which I recommend you do.  Once you get out of the parking lot you will turn left and you will simply follow the base of the mesa and explore around seeing all of the incredible petroglyphs.  I took so many pictures of the rock art but I will just post the more interesting petroglyphs here.

As you hike around on the trail, you will find other information posts that explain about the petroglyphs and the people who carved them – very interesting stuff!

On a side note, we also got great views of the city!

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

You can't really tell but we found several road runners on top of the mesa watching us

You can’t really tell but we found several road runners on top of the mesa watching us

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

One of my favorite petroglyphs

One of my favorite petroglyphs

Petroglpyh National Monum

 

 

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

We then found the correct location for the Visitor Center and proceeding to drive there next.  It was about a 15 minute drive from Piedras Marcadas Canyon.  There were two ladies on staff who were very helpful and friendly and answered all of our questions and loved chatting about the rock art.  The Visitor Center has displays, books, a gift shop, restrooms and sitting areas for you to enjoy.

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

Petroglpyh National Monum

The Return:

Head back towards your car.

Personal Thoughts:

It’s too bad we didn’t have more time here.  I would have loved to continue exploring the rest of the places that the monument had to offer.  This was a fun place to hike around and climb on the rocks seeing all the petroglyphs.

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Ratings (out of 10)
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Difficulty
2.0
Technicality
2.0
Enjoyment
6.5
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

6.7
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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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