Scenic drive to El Morro National Monument - part 4
El Morro is located about 80 miles west of Albuquerque, NM. Take I-40 west to Grants, NM, and then take NM highway 53 south and west to El Morro.
The drive over to the national monument with lots of geological formations along the way.
There are several trails near lava tubes from ancient volcanic activity in the area about 20 miles east of El Morro, and well worth seeing along with other things in El malpias NM.
When you arrive at the national monument visitor center off highway NM 53, you can see the sandstone mesa in the area behind the visitor center. The mesa is only about a quarter mile behind the visitor center, an easy walk.
The reservoir and many of the signatures and petroglyphs in sandstone are closest to the visitor center.
For those who are up for a more challenging, but not a difficult hike, there is a trail that leads around a trail up over the Mesa gaining about 400 feet in elevation and over the length of about 2.5 miles. This trail is well worth the couple of hours it takes to cover the ground. The mesa is very interesting and the pueblo remains can be seen up on top.
It's a nice experience, well worth the time to drive to western New Mexico for a few hours.
It's a pretty remote area, so it's best to bring a picnic bag with you since there aren't any restaurants in the area, but you can stop in Grants and have a meal there before you drive down Highway 53. You do need to bring plenty of water though, because this is desert, most especially in the late spring, summer, or early fall.
Between 1275 AD and 1350 AD up to about 1500 people lived on top of a sandstone mesa, where there is a small water reservoir shaded on the north side of the mesa, which provided the water to sustain the Pueblo and people who traveled along the trail near the mesa, where today there is a highway.
European people who passed by left signatures from late 1500 AD and after, and natives left petroglyph symbols before late 1500 AD telling their stories in passing the ancient desert water hole.
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Last Update: November 07, 2017
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