As you walk among the petroglyphs, you are not alone. This world is alive with the sights and sounds of the high desert - a hawk spirals down from the mesa top, a roadrunner scurries into fragrant sage, a desert millipede traces waves in the sand. There is another presence beyond what we can see or hear. People who have lived along the Rio Grande for many centuries come alive again through images they carved on the shiny black rocks. These images, and associated archeological sites in the Albuquerque area, provide glimpses into a 12,000 year long story of human life in this area.
Petroglyph National Monument stretches 17 miles along Albuquerque's West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city's western horizon. Authorized June 27, 1990, the 7,236 acre monument is cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque.
Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 25,000 images carved by native peoples and early Spanish settlers. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses; others are more complex. Their meaning, possibly, understood only by the carver. These images are inseparable from the greater cultural landscape, from the spirits of the people who created them, and all who appreciate them.
Petroglyph National Monument is a place of respect, awe and wonderment.