Macaw

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 400 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5199 - 5212 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 15 mins.
Trailhead: Boca Negra
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs




The Macaw trail is located in the Boca Negra Unit of Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The short trail follows a loop that takes it past, among other things, a petroglyph of a macaw bird. Petroglyph National Monument has many images of birds that are drawn more anatomically correct than they are abstract like many images of animals found elsewhere in southwestern rock art.


To get to the trailhead first find your way to the Visitor Center where the ranger can provide the latest information along with a free brochure and instructions for getting from there to the Boca Negra unit. Upon arrival to Boca Negra you will need to purchase a parking permit which is $1/vehicle on weekdays and $2/vehicle on weekends. From the ticket booth continue driving around the loop. The trailhead will be the second one that you come to.


At present the Macaw trail isn't wheelchair accessible. There is a viewing scope near the restrooms that is at just the right height for such visitors.


The Macaw trail has pavement that has been poured over the rough surface to smooth out the path somewhat. Concrete stairs provide an easier transition over some of the basalt boulders.


The boulder with the macaw pecked on it is among the first with images encountered on the trail. Actual macaws would have been brought up from what is now Mexico probably by traders. Items that incorporated their colorful feathers can be found in several museums around the southwest. At Chaco Canyon there is even a ruin where there are indications that the residents tried to raise macaws.


On another boulder only the image on the left is visible. Faint outlines of other images show that at one time almost the entire surface of the boulder was covered with images.


There are several images that include yucca pods. We outlined this one on the computer because the glare of the sunlight made it harder to see.


This one, that is closer to the trail, is a little easier to see. All parts of the yucca plant are edible or are useful in other ways. The pedals of the yucca flower are edible as well as the pod itself and the roots. The leaves can be pulled apart in strips and woven into sandals, baskets and mats. We have even seen recipes for making soap from the yucca plant.


Some of these images where probably much more distinct when they were first made. On this boulder weathering of the patina has washed out the images on the lower part of the rock.



There are several wheelchair accessible picnic spots in the Boca Negra Unit. The restrooms have flush toilets with running water. Visitors to the area will also want to check out the Mesa Point trail as well as the Cliff Base trail which starts on the west side of the restroom. As far as the Macaw trail goes if you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.