Crow Canyon Main Panel

Round Trip Distance: 0.8 - 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5990 - 6041 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Crow Canyon Main Panel
Fee: none
Attractions: Navajo and Puebloan petroglyphs

The Main Panel trail is located in the Crow Canyon Archaeological District near Bloomfield, New Mexico. Crow Canyon is located in an area the Navajo people call Dinétah which means 'among the Navajo' or 'among the people'. This is the area the Navajo people consider to be their ancestral homeland. The Crow Canyon Archaeological District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Getting to the trailhead requires about 20 miles of off highway driving for which a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for crossing Largo Wash. Travel east on Highway 64 from Bloomfield for about 8.5 miles and turn south on Country Road 4450 a little past the town of Blanco. Follow 4450 as it crosses Largo Wash on the 5 Mile bridge and continue for a total distance from the pavement of just under 19 miles. At this point there is a sign for Crow Canyon. Reset your odometer trip counter and turn left here. The road heads toward Largo Wash to a point where it makes a crossing. During wet weather this is a spot where a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle may be needed. After crossing the wash turn left and continue driving until you have measured about a half mile from County Road 4450. Go straight at this point and drive another 0.3 miles, staying to the right at the next 'T', to where the road ends at a well site. We had to park over a quarter mile away and begin hiking due to the road conditions which were good up to this point.

The trail heads east in front of the low cliff. Several interpretive signs provide information about the site. One of the signs has samples of various images along with their meaning. The trail doesn't travel close to the cliff through this area but there are lots of older panels that are probably ancestral Puebloan all along the cliff.

A partial wall of roughly shaped stones remains from sometime in the past.

This panel seems to be showing a dance or ceremony.

The trail comes to the point of the cliff and seems to stop. Make your way over the rocks between the boulder and the cliff where the trail becomes apparent again. The best petroglyphs are around the corner so don't turn back yet.

In a couple of places you can go between the cliff and a boulder or hike around the outside.

There are petroglyphs in some of these tight spots and also on the boulders if you go the other way so check out both routes.

Be sure and read the trail signs at the beginning of the hike to learn what some of these symbols represent. Some of these are as exquisite as you can find anywhere.

This panel might depict a battle story. There is at least one upside down person that probably means dead.

Most of the petroglyphs are Navajo but there are also fainter images that are much older on both sides of the cliff.

This looks like an elaborate ceremony with dancers in the lower right hand corner. There are so many fine lines that it would have been tedious to trace on the computer.

This panel, that is located close to the trailhead, has what looks similar to a Thunderbird.

We had to park along the side of the road and walk an extra quarter mile or more because of a shallow wash that the road crosses that was still muddy from recent rains. The petroglyphs in Crow Canyon are very remarkable and done in a manner that their messages or stories want to be told. We only had a few hours to spend in the area and we are anxious to return for a longer stay. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.