Three Rivers Petroglyph is located in the Southern Central part of New Mexico between Carrizozo and Tularosa. It is rare to find such a location where you can hike so close and walk among the rock carvings. There are many sites in New Mexico that have petroglyphs, in fact Joe and I live near several trails where you can hike and find many petroglyph drawings right here in Albuquerque. We enjoy getting out to walk the trails and are always excited to find something new that we’ve missed on a previous hike. Three Rivers is a treasure in that there are more than 20,000 known petroglyph drawings clustered in a this small area. You can see many of them along two trails that lead you through a 1 mile hike. It is one of the great wonders of the Southwest. Some of the drawings depict birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs. Some are faded and hard to make out what they are while others are still quite vivid and easy to determine what they were trying to convey. I’ve always loved to explore the petroglyphs and try to interpret the story native people left behind for us. We had a great day and made a large loop from Carrizozo to Tularosa and through Ruidoso Downs, and up to Hondo where we visted the Hondo Iris Farm. The drive takes you some of the most beautiful scenery of mountains and valleys. Hondo was our turn around point as we headed back north through Lincoln National Forest where Smokey the Bear was rescued in 1950 and now buried. For anyone who loves the history of the Southwest and Native American people who resided here, Three Rivers is an amazing place to visit.
The rock walk path that takes you to the lava site where you will find many petroglyph drawings.
The circle with dots can be found on many of the rocks. There’s no way to know for certain what these symbols mean but some researchers suggest the dots represent corn or a population count. I found the circles with dots to be some of the most artistic drawings. They are so precise and round.
Here are some of the many geometric symbols we found while exploring.
This is clearly a drawing of a bighorn ram. The next few rock drawings are of animals, some we could identify, some not so much.
Not sure on this one but definitely an animal.
Possible insect or horny toad.
What does this one look like to you?
Bighorn sheep with geometric designs.
Strange looking goat, I presume.
This one is faded and harder to decipher but I’m pretty sure it is a Jackrabbit with geometric designs.
This resembles a dog, more probable that it’s a coyote.
Here are some faces or mask drawings. Some are positioned on the rocks to look as if they are three dimensional.
This is one of my favorites. Medicine Man perhaps . . .
Another human with an adorning head dress.
And some odd drawings that stand out!
Same picture, different angle.
Some of the best circle motifs.
On your way out, be sure to stop by the Three Rivers Trading Post. They have an amazing gallery displaying resident artist Cameron Blagg’s unique artwork.
From Three Rivers Petroglyph you can see some beautiful mountains and valleys. Here are a few pics.
To the south you can see the white strip which is White Sands National Monument located near Alamogordo, NM. Today the wind is strong and blowing white sand across the Tularosa basin.
The blowing sand appears like a haze blurring out much of the mountains in the south west. We will be back in September to go to the balloon rally at White Sands. I can’t wait to see all those colorful hot air balloons over beautiful white sand!