exploring the national park in our own backyard

I have wanted to explore the Petroglyph National Monument since we moved to Albuquerque and yesterday we finally made it happen. After a breakfast of pineapple and Bisquick pancakes, we filled up my backpack with water, sunscreen, and snacks and took the short 15-minute drive to the Piedras Marcadas Canyon parking area.

We are very luck to have such an amazing national park right in our own backyard. There are several different access points to the monument within 15-20 minutes of our house. We chose Piedras Marcadas Canyon for our first outing due to it's easy access and short hiking distance.

Piedras Marcadas is an easy hike at only 1.5 miles round trip with easy to moderate terrain. It's free to park in the parking lot and you get started on the trail almost immediately upon exiting your vehicle. There are over 400 petroglyphs in this particular area with 5 major sections marked along the trail. Dogs (on a leash) are also allowed so it's a great area for a family day hike.

The petroglyphs we saw along the trail are in the Rio Grand style. Scholars believe 90% of the images were created by ancestors of today's Pueblo people and were carved in the basalt rocks from 1300 through the late 1680s. To learn more about the petroglyphs, you can visit the National Park Service website.

I've lived in Albuquerque for over 7 months now. Over time I've developed an affinity for the desert I never thought possible. The sprawling mesas, majestic Sandia Mountains, and unique vegetation all possess their own kind of beauty that I've learned to appreciate and enjoy. The Southwest is a hidden gem I'm lucky to call my home.

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