Petroglyph National Monument: A Toasty Stroll
Petroglyph National Monument is a low key destination. It lies on the western edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a visitors center and four separate areas to explore: Rinconada Canyon, Boca Negra Canyon, Piedras Maracadas, and Volcanoes. The latter does not actually have any petroglyphs, but hey, three volcanoes!
Rinconada Canyon, with a parking lot just off Unser Blvd NW a couple miles north of I-40, seemed the most convenient spot for a walkabout. There is a decent bathroom at the parking lot, and a barrier prevented vehicles from going on the trail. Right away, the heat makes itself known, as if to say, “Hello, pale people from the north; I will toast you now.” We slather on sunscreen and tote water. I wish I had a hat.
The canyon is really more of a vee-shaped plain, gently sloping, with ramparts on the outer edge of the vee covered in basalt boulders. Cacti and sage and broken glass dot the flatter land. Apparently locals formerly used Rinconada Canyon for target shooting before the area was protected.
Denise and Jackie Chan the wonderdog do an about face after about half a mile when they realizes the pictures are mostly similar same, and it’s getting bloody hot. I can’t blame them, but I soldier on for a bit. One smart hiker carries an umbrella as sun shield. There is certainly no respite from the sun, and there is no water on the trail.
The trail hugs the right slope near the rocks. Petroglyphs seem to come in clumps on large rocks in little alcoves at the base of the canyon walls.. Mostly the images are simple and relatively small, such as dessert-plate sized birds, human faces, and deer. Scientists do not know exactly what all if the petroglyphs mean, but it is interesting to speculate.
Rinconada Canyon offers a harsh landscape for hikers, but one worth visiting for its geologic and human history. Consider going in the cooler hours of the day.
Posted on August 4, 2013, in Adventure, Desert, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Historical sites, Outdoors, Travel, vacations and tagged Albuquerque New Mexico, HIkes near Albuquerque, Hiking New Mexico, Petroglyph National Monument, Rinconada Canyon, Vacation hikes. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.