Petroglyph National Monument


Petroglyph  National Monument in Albuquerque is just a few miles down the road from our campsite at the Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post. Just north of of the campground is an entrance to the Volcano Day Use area. There are three small volcanoes, Vulcan, Black and JA. Four miles of trails take you to and around the volcanoes.

The three volcanoes

Further east and north of I-40 is the visitor’s center and three entrances (Rinconada Canyon, Boca Negra Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon) with trailheads leading to the publicly available petroglyphs.

Visitor Center

Looking for the petroglyphs is like a game of archeological Where’s Waldo.

Where's the petroglyph? Can you see it?

Some of the petroglyphs are either by the trail or are readily spotted.

Petroglyph covered stone right by the trail

Others, you just keep looking around you and suddenly “Look, There’s one!”

This one was harder to spot

Some native americans say that the petroglyphs decide whether they’re going to show themselves to you or not. We did notice that how the sunlight strikes the rocks makes a big difference in how visible they are. This also makes them interesting to try and photograph.

The petroglyphs are created by removing, by scratching, pecking or other means, the weathered surface from the stone which reveals the lighter colored interior.

Stone (with petroglyphs) showing lighter colored interior

Most of the petroglyphs we saw are from native americans .


Others are from more recent Spanish settlers.

Spanish cross

While we know there are other areas with more impressive displays of ancient petroglyphs, we enjoyed walking around trying to find the ancient art hidden among the stones.

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