9 Trails In New Mexico That Will Lead You Straight To Ancient Petroglyphs

When we think of hiking, we often focus on escaping into nature. Although many of these paths offer panoramic views, they are primarily fascinating because they lead to petroglyphs. Walk back in time and study rock art, to discover how people from the past viewed our world through these ancient petroglyphs in New Mexico.

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Many of these hikes lack shade, so bring a hat and water, and slather on that sunscreen. Petroglyph trails tend to be rocky and may involve a little climbing, so wear decent hiking shoes. For good measure, bring a pair of binoculars so you can get a good look at the less accessible rock art. (It shouldn’t have to be said, but please do not deface the artwork.)

Which petroglyph trail do you want to explore most?

You may also be interested in these New Mexico hikes that lead to ancient ruins or in Inscription Rock – a spot that travelers have graffitied for centuries!

Address: Western Trail NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120, USA
Address: 455 3 Rivers Rd, Tularosa, NM 88352, USA
Address: New Mexico, USA
Address: 15 Entrance Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
Address: 662-, 674 Paseo Real, Santa Fe, NM 87507, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

Ancient Petroglyphs In New Mexico

January 01, 2021

What are the oldest ruins in New Mexico?

There are many historic sites in New Mexico that have been around for an exceptionally long time. Some of the oldest places you can visit are ancient ruins. The Aztec Ruins are some of the oldest, dating back 900 years. You can walk through them yourself at the Aztec Ruins National Monument. And no, they have no actual link to the Aztecs, they were built by the Ancestral Puebloan people. If you’re visiting the Chaco Culture National Historic Park for the petroglyphs, be sure to check out the ancient ruins, too. They date back to the 1100s and are fascinating to visit.

Can I hike to historical sites in New Mexico?

There are more historic hiking trails in New Mexico that are perfect for nature lovers and history buffs alike. There is a short 1-mile hike to the beautiful Gila Cliff Dwellings worth taking. The structures were built into the side of a cliff by the Mogollon people back in the 1200s. They are very well-preserved today, making them the perfect historic site to explore. You can explore more recent history on a trail near Cloudcroft, New Mexico. Nestled in the mountains is a historic, abandoned railroad trestle. It’s a favorite of photographers and the story behind it is interesting, too. The trail is about 1.2 miles long.

What are the most unique hikes in New Mexico?

If you enjoy hiking unique trails like these, here are a few other one-of-a-kind journeys you can take in New Mexico. The El Malpais National Monument has a cave hike unlike any other. You’ll need a cave permit (it’s free) before you go, and you’ll be off to explore a lava tube cave. Some of the lava flows here were created as recently as 3000 years ago. If you’re hiking in the fall, check out the Aspen Vista Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest. The view of the bright golden aspens is unlike any other. Keep in mind, however, that the total hike is 11 miles long.

Address: Western Trail NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120, USA
Address: 455 3 Rivers Rd, Tularosa, NM 88352, USA
Address: New Mexico, USA
Address: 15 Entrance Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
Address: 662-, 674 Paseo Real, Santa Fe, NM 87507, USA