Situated on the Westside of Albuquerque, Petroglyph National Monument was an ideal stop for us as we were in town for the balloon fiesta. It was cheap to visit. The weather was nice so being outside was a must. It was also one of the last major attractions in the ABQ that we had not seen. So, since we had some time to kill from the morning ascension to the night glow at the balloon fiesta we figured a few hours at Petroglyph National Monument would be good for us.
The national monument is divided up into three sections. The most popular being the Boca Negra Canyon, home to thousands of petroglyphs that date from the 1300’s to 1600 CE. The drawings were carved into the lava rock that is found throughout the area. The abundance of lava rock comes from the three dormant volcanoes that can also be seen in Petroglyph National Monument.
Our first stop was the visitor center. Finding the visitor center proved a little tricky with all the new development going on in the area. Make sure you have a good up-to-date navigation system or map before you go looking for it. I always like my first stop of any visit to any location in the national park system to be the visitor center. The park rangers have always given us good advice on where to go depending on how much time we have to spend there.
After talking to the park ranger and letting her know we were on a bit of a time crunch she told us to check out the Boca Negra Canyon. We would have to leave the Rincondada Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon for another time.
The Park Rangers advice proved quite helpful as we were able to see multiple petroglyphs in just a small concentrated area. Three short paved walks to petroglyph sites allow you to visit almost 150 drawings. The best of the bunch was Mesa Point which goes up the side of the hill and offers close up views of the some of the better petroglyphs that we saw. There is a small fee to park at Boca Negra but for us it was worth it. If you have some time while you’re in the Albuquerque area be sure to check out these prehistoric wonders yourself.
Petroglyph National Monument
Located on the Westside of Albuquerque on Unser Blvd and Western Trail
Cost as of this Posting Free to Petroglyph National Monument but a parking fee of $1 weekday $2 weekend at Boca Negra Canyon
For more information visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/petr/index.htm
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