Three Rivers Petroglyph Site was recommended to me by a colleague prior to our West Texas/New Mexico road trip. We already had our route planned, but this site, located between Tularosa and Carrizozo, wasn't too far off and we figured it was worth the extra miles and hours to check it out.
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is a 50 acre site managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and as far as we could tell, it was operated entirely by volunteers. This site is really neat because it is one of the largest petroglyph sites (about 21,000 petroglyphs) in the southwest and gives visitors quite a bit of access to see them.
Okay, let's back up and clarify something that I definitely had to Google. Petroglyphs and pictographs - what's the difference? Petroglyphs are images that have been carved into rock, pictographs are images that have been painted. If you're interested in seeing pictographs, I recommend Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site outside of El Paso or Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site near Del Rio.
Back to New Mexico, though. The site has a couple of trails, of which we only took one - the half mile rugged trail to see a huge amount of rock art. Like...this trail is FILLED with petroglyphs. It's really amazing. Grab a guide when you stop in the Visitors Center and it will help you navigate and better understand the art. It's crazy to think how old the carvings are - approximately 1,000 years - and yet they're still here, in pretty damn good condition. Many of the petroglyphs are of nature, with some geometric designs and images of humans, as well. For as long as humans have been around, we've been connected with the world around us and displayed that in our art. Whether it's prehistoric humans carving images into rocks, Ansel Adams taking photographs of dramatic landscapes, Albert Bierstadt painting Hetch Hetchy Valley, or Georgia O'Keeffe painting flowers, nature inspires us in many bountiful ways. How does nature inspire YOU?