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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Petroglyphs National Monument - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Petroglyph National Monument stretches 17 miles along Albuquerque, New Mexico's West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city's western horizon. Authorized June 27, 1990, the 7,236 acre monument is cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque. The western boundary of the monument features a chain of dormant fissure volcanoes. Beginning in the northwest corner, Butte volcano is followed to its south by Bond, Vulcan, Black and JA volcanoes.

Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of 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. Archaeologists have dated some carvings, primarily those in the Boca Negra Canyon area, as far back as 3,000 years ago. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses; others are more complex. Their meaning was, possibly, understood only by the carver. These images are the cultural heritage of a people who have long since moved into other areas and moved on through history for many reasons. The monument is intended as a protection for these lands and sites from and for visitors to see and appreciate for generations to come. The national monument is managed in a manner that allows recreational use. The monument has four major sites that visitors can access, Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon, Piedras Marcadas Canyon, and the Volcano Day Use trails.

Things to do and see:

This is a must-see location if you are in the Albuquerque Area. Understand the monument is spread out on the west side of Albuquerque which means it requires a little driving to each section. The petroglyphs are generally found on the Piedras Marcadas Canyon. We recommend hiking this trail to see and photograph the petroglyphs. We also recommend completing the this national monument experience by hiking to all volcanoes.

Contact information:

6001 Unser Blvd. NW Albuquerque, NM 87120

Phone: (505) 899-0205

Thanks Visitor Center

National Monument Map

Charging station in parking lot for electric vehicles

Volcanic Region of National Monument

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