Day Trip to Petroglyph National Monument

Day Trip to Petroglyph National Monument

Posted on January 5, 2024

With so many incredible things to see and do in and around Rio Rancho, NM, the options when planning your next day trip can be overwhelming. Here’s one of our top picks. Take a short 30-minute drive to visit the historic Petroglyph National Monument. This area was dedicated to preserving ancient stone drawings, known as petroglyphs. Enjoy a day full of exploring more than 7,244 acres of history and landscape.

What you should know:

  • There are four park sections within the National Monument, all within a short driving distance of the visitor center
  • Three out of the four park sections are free
  • Stop by the visitor center to pick up a map and get the best tips to start your adventure
  • Leashed dogs are allowed in the park
  • Make sure to bring water and sunscreen
  • Water fountains and bathrooms are available at the visitor center
  • Pack or pick up a lunch on your way in
  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes

Petroglyph National Monument was established in 1990 and encompasses four separate parks that are relatively close by. The four parks include:  Boca Negra Canyon, Rinconada Canyon, Piedras Marcadas Canyon and the Volcanoes Day Use Area.


Boca Negra Canyon

This canyon has three short, uneven moderate paths. Expect to spend up to an hour of hiking one mile or more roundtrip.  You will see up to 100 petroglyphs. There is an ADA view scope under one of the patios to check out the spectacular views. Seating areas and picnic tables are available on this trail.

Rinconada Canyon

Enjoy this 2.2-mile scenic loop that should take you approximately an hour and a half to complete. See up to 300 petroglyphs throughout your hike and enjoy all the views this canyon has to offer.

Piedras Marcadas Canyon

This canyon will present you with over 400 petroglyphs throughout your 1.5-mile trek. A beautiful scenic hike that will take you over an hour to complete. This canyon presents views of the city as well as some of the most spectacular petroglyphs.

Volcano Day Use Trails

This trail system offers amazing miles of hiking around the volcanic cinder cones. One to four miles round trip with clear views of the Rio Grande valley and the Sandia Mountains. You may miss the petroglyphs on this trail but the views sure do make up for it.

Set out on your adventure to explore these four separate parks. You will cherish the memories and scenic sites you see on your visit.


Looking for a new home or custom homesite near Albuquerque? Nestled among the foothills of Rio Rancho, Mariposa is a master-planned community 30 minutes north of Albuquerque. Mariposa is designed for living naturally and offers a fully equipped fitness center, resort-style indoor and outdoor pools, parks, sports courts, miles of trails, abundant open space and endless views at the Mariposa Preserve and surrounding mountains. Learn more at

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