Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Posted by Marcia Chase on

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Located 17 miles north of Tularosa, NM, and 28 miles south of Carrizozo, NM on U.S. 54. Ill put a link in the show notes below

Three Rivers Valley is home to the largest collection of petroglyphs in the Southwest. This fascinating place is full of rock art! 21,000 petroglyphs in all, its well worth the trip.

These petroglyphs date back to 900 - 1400 AD and were created by Jornada Mogollon, the ancient desert dwellers of New Mexico. Their name derives from the Mongollon Mountains in New Mexico. The culture is presumed to have developed out of the earlier Chochise Culture. Mogollon people made these pictures with stone tools by chipping away the dark oxidized patina on the exterior of the desert rocks.

A half mile trail begins at the visitor  center and links many of the most interesting petroglyphs. ( It get very hot out here in the summer so make sure you take plenty of water even for this short hike. There a great BLM visitor center where you check in and they have lots of information. ) 

Tularosa Basin was created with the rise and fall of warm inland seas, the eruption of the Sierra Blanca volcano and the Rio Grande rift formation. You can really sense the sacred stillness of this expansive valley.

Why were Petroglyphs made?

Petroglyphs are powerful cultural symbols that reflect complex societies of an ancient time.

Some petroglyphs have meanings that are only known to the individuals who made them. Note each petroglyph's orientation to the horizon and surrounding images, as well as the landscape in which they sit. Petroglyphs belong to “those who came before” and served as an ancient form of communication and storytelling.

A slow walk through Three Rivers Petroglyph Site will leave you feeling like you could be walking in another time.


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