The Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque
There are many sights to see when you come to Albuquerque, so deciding which places to go and things to do can be a little tricky from time to time. But if you like history, culture, and the outdoors, then there is simply one place you need to pencil in – the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque.
This national monument is one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. These designs have been carved into the volcanic rocks of the area 400 to 700 years ago. Both Spanish settlers as well as Native Americans made the carvings, depicting various things – from day to day life to important symbols within the culture of the carver. There are over 25,000 petroglyphs in the 17 miles of escarpment – and this is just within the monument boundary!
Estimates place 90 percent of the petroglyphs as made by ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indians. In fact, these early Pueblo Indians have lived in the area since before 500 AD. A small handful of petroglyphs are estimated to have been carved as far back as 2000 BC. Around 1540, Spanish settlers began to arrive and life in the area changed dramatically. Yet Spanish settlers mimicked the Puebloans by carving petroglyphs around the 1700s.
You can stroll along and take pictures and video of the petroglyphs throughout the national monument. Bring plenty of water as there are a lot to view and you may find yourself outside for quite a while. Visits can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4-5 hours. You’ll be awed at all the different carvings, and be sure to check out the visitor center for more information about them, as well as obtain brochures to learn their meanings, and have trail maps handy.