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Petroglyph National Monument

On the fringes of New Mexico’s largest city, Petroglyph National Monument is a one-of-a-kind park which preserves one of the world’s highest concentrations of rock art.

Set on the western edge of Albuquerque and within view of downtown, visitors can choose from four park entrances, each of which lead to unique vistas and cultural sites. There are also biking trails, jogging paths, and picnic sites.

Short trails lead to intricate and mysterious rock art – though some of the images are recognizable, their meaning is likely only known by the person who carved them. Visitors can see carvings such as the star person, the sun, antelope, men and women, crosses, brands, and mystical figures. There are figures with ghost-like trailing appendages and birds with fanciful flowing tails. There are royal turtles and abstract lines.

Stretching for 17 miles along the edge of West Mesa, this park has an estimated 24,000 images carved by ancestral Pueblo people as well as more recent Spanish settlers. The four major sites which are easily accessible are Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon, Piedras Marcadas Canyon, and the Volcano Day Use trails. The oldest carvings date back about 3,000 years.