Three Rivers Petroglyphs
The Three Rivers petroglyph site contains one of the most numerous collections of petroglyphs in the nation. Of the various petroglyph sites in New Mexico we have visited, this site has by far the most. BLM says that there are over 21,000, and many are in excellent condition.
In addition to the petroglyphs, you also get great views of Sierra Blanca and the Tularosa basin.
|Hike data||Waypoints||Maps||Getting to the trailhead||About the hike||Plants along the trail||Comments|
When we hiked it:
|3RIVERS||Campground||Three Rivers Petroglyph site campground and trailhead|
|3RIVERSSHR||Trail point||Shelter at official end of Three Rivers Petroglyph trail|
Maps:Geohack online map list Paper maps:
|Map name||Cartographer||Year||Scale||Topo map?||Online access||Notes|
|Tularosa||BLM||1984||1:100000||Y||Public Lands Information Center (purchase)|
|Wildernesses of New Mexico||US Forest Service||1981||1:1000000||N||No online copies.||Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.|
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Getting to the trailhead:
On US 54 between Carizozo and Tularosa, between mile posts 96 and 96 is a large sign indicating a turn to the east on Otero county road B030, also known as Three Rivers Road and forest road 579. Take this road about 5.3 miles. At the sign indicating that the petroglyphs are 0.25 miles to the left, turn and the road dead-ends at the petroglyph campground and parking lot.
The trailhead is under the shelter pictured at the right.
About the hike:
From the trailhead, you walk on the gravel trail and then pass through a pedestrian gate. Climb a slight hill, and you get to a bench with binoculars. This site (as well as much of the trail) would be an excellent one for evening or morning photos. From here, you can see White Sands gleaming in the distance. In this photo, if you look at the large version you can just see the bench and binoculars at the end of the trail (under the 2005 in the copyright statement).
The trail divides several times. Take one side on the way out, and the other on the return trip.
One of the early petroglyphs is this roadrunner.
This circle with dots motif appears frequently. I wonder what it represents.
Animals obviously were important to the people who left their mark. Here is a bighorn sheep.
Many areas are quite dense with petroglyphs.
Hunting is portrayed by this bighorn sheep with arrows in it.
This is an early picture of someone wearing earrings.
The petroglyphs are right beside the trail.
When you reach this shelter, you are at the end of the official hike. The guidebook says that there are fewer petroglyphs after this. However, a ranger said that many of the best and most intricate are beyond this point. We will re-visit and continue on next time.
While you are looking at the petroglyphs, you might look up once in a while to see the mountains in the distance (both east and west).
Plants we saw along the trail:
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