Mesa Point

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5185 - 5298 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Mesa Point
Fee: $1 weekdays/$2 weekends
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Mesa Point trail is located in the Petroglyph National Monument on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The trail begins in the Boca Negro unit of the monument where it climbs its way up a small hill that is covered with basalt boulders. Many of the boulders display a variety of petroglyphs that were left there hundreds of years ago by some of the earlier inhabitants of the area.

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 to the Boca Negra from there. 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 Mesa Point trailhead will be the first that you come to.

The Mesa Point trail is paved but it isn't constructed in a manner that accommodates strollers or wheelchairs. The pavement covers up the scree and smaller rocks making the path much easier to walk on.

As the trail progresses there are signs that provide details about some of the petroglyphs.

The Rio Grande style of petroglyphs are very interesting to look at. Some of the faces look almost cartoonish in style. And then there are ones that look other worldly.

The Mesa Point trail forms a loop as it winds its way up the small hill. It takes a route through the basalt boulders that affords visitors closeup views of much of the rock art.

Concrete steps in a few key places make the short climb much easier to manage.

Some of the petroglyphs are easier to view and photograph from a distance using a zoom lens than it is standing right in front of them.

Mixed in with the petroglyphs are several crosses that were left by early Spanish settlers.

Here is an interesting figure that is wearing a mask and a headdress.

A side trail leads up to the top of the mesa where there is the rubble pile remains of a rockshelter. From the top of the hill visitors can look out over Albuquerque and the Rio Grande valley.

While hiking back down the hill it pays to look back over your shoulder to see a few more petroglyphs that would otherwise be missed. The trail winds around enough that it probably isn't nearly as steep as this picture makes it look.

At the bottom of the hill there is a spur trail that follows the wash over to the Macaw and Cliff Base trails. There is also the option to get back in your vehicle and continue around the loop to the next parking area. Visitors will find wheelchair accessible picnic areas at both locations. We have included two maps from the monuments website. One is an overview map of the entire monument while the other pertains solely to Boca Negra Canyon. The maps are also available along with brochures at the Visitor Center. The Mesa Point trail is almost a must for anyone visiting Petroglyph National Monument. For those that don't think they can handle the climb up the hill we would still suggest hiking the lower portion of the trail where there are many excellent petroglyphs to see. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.