MetroABQ Blog

Welcome to Westside ABQs Rinconada Canyon


Rinconada Canyon, on Albuquerque’s Westside, is one of the most interesting places in the MetroABQ that you may never have heard of. Probably close to 700 years ago, ancestors of the Pueblo Indians arrived in central NM, settling along the Rio Grande Valley. The 1200+ petroglyphs in Rinconada Canyon are some of the perhaps 20,000 petroglyphs found along the Volcanic Escarpment, in the Petroglyph National Monument.

Other areas of the volcanic escarpment have dense petroglyphs: Boca Negra Canyon, and Piedras Marcadas Canyon, both on the east side of the escarpment.


The Rinconada Canyon hiking trail begins at the Petroglyph National Monument parking area, at the end of St. Joseph’s and Unser Blvd, on the MetroABQ’s Westside. The trail wends a mile into the main canyon, passing through numerous little canyons along the way. The images you will see include human-like figures, concentric circles/spirals, animal figures, and geometric designs. The ancient petroglyphs can easily be found early in the hike along the path; however, some of the most interesting can be discovered by climbing onto the rocks and looking behind the basalt lava flows. According to the National Parks Service website, Pueblo Elders believe that the petroglyphs choose when and to whom they reveal themselves. You may not see them all…


Above: Rinconada from deep in the canyon, facing toward the Metro. Below: I colored the Chicken green and the Alien Bug red.



Below: Graffiti from February 22, 1919, scrawled on the lava rock.

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