“Native American Symbols”
Petroglyph National Monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers. 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. 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.
This was interesting and educational but the graffiti and the encroachment of suburbia have left it feeling somewhat depressing.
We went to the Boca Negra Canyon. You can see about 100 petroglyphs in a mile walk. If you don't like to hike up hills, then don't do this one. Most of the petroglyphs are up a steep rocky hill. It was well worth the trip, though. Not a hard hike and plenty to see! This was a great pretty quick stop on our western adventure.
Be prepared to hike at least two miles in the sand
Didn't know this place was so spread out! Made it about halfway then our time ran out.
This park covers a variety of spaces that weave in and out of suburbia. Well-maintained bicycle paths and hiking trails connect many of the areas, but there are some for which a drive is the best option between hikes. The visitors center is staffed with knowledgeable rangers, maps, and other information. Some things that can be found in every piece of the park: petroglyphs! They may be found on the long, challenging hikes as well as the shortest, easiest hike, which makes this park a great choice for young families.
We hiked the piedras Marcus canyon and it was incredibly hot. I was miscommunicated with a friend and thought we were getting into an easy 10-30 minute walk. Apparently there is an easy paved path and we went to the wrong one. If you are used to the heat and don't wear flip flops, this hike wouldn't be so bad. We were dying by the end, even with cutting it a half mile short.
We definitely enjoyed this site. It was very hot and would have spent more time if it was cooler. There was some obvious vandalism, which was sad, but it didn't take away from the experience. Very cool petroglyphs, but often the petroglyphs were few the higher up you got! Most were found lower on the trails.
Marginally underwhelmed. The petroglyphs are more difficult to see than I was expecting. Also, the canyons are tucked into neighborhoods and you can see houses and neighborhoods from all the trails - it really takes a lot of the beauty and mystery away. Worth it only if you are in the area.
Glad we made the stop but wish we had done a little more research and planned ahead better to see it all. There are three separate sites to walk. Went to Piedras Marcas Canyon which is about a 1.5 mi round trip on a sandy trail. Surprised that the site was directly behind a suburban neighborhood but we saw a lot of wildlife and the petroglyphs were cool to see and a nice way to get some exercise on a long drive. Definitely worth the stop!
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Petroglyph National Monument
- Sun - Sat: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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