• Historic inscriptions carved in the bluff at El Morro.

    El Morro

    National Monument New Mexico

Outdoor Activities

Visitors stroll to the pool along the Inscription Trail

NPS Photo

The Inscription Trail
A must–see! If you only have an hour or less, you will definitely want to take the trail to the pool and past hundreds of Spanish and Anglo inscriptions, as well as pre–historical petroglyphs. It will be easy to see why El Morro was proclaimed a National Monument. This loop trail is paved, 1/2 mile in length, and wheelchair accessible with assistance. If you have at least 1 1/2 hours, and lots of energy, you can continue past the inscriptions and up to the top of the bluff.
 
Visitors enjoy the Headland Trail.

Hikers on the Headland Trail enjoy the view of the box canyon.

NPS Photo

The Headland Trail
This 2–mile loop includes the Inscription Trail, and continues to the top of the bluff. There, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Zuni Mountains, the volcanic craters of the El Malpais area, and the El Morro valley. A 250 ft. elevation gain and the uneven sandstone surface makes this a slightly strenuous hike. Sturdy walking shoes and water, particularly in the hot summer months, are necessary. Portions or all of the Headland Trail can close due to ice and snow during the winter months (December -April).
 
The Pueblo ruin site, Atsinna, sits up on top of the bluff.

NPS Photo

Atsinna
Another reward for hiking the Headland Trail is the Ancestral Puebloan ruin, Atsinna, or “place of writings on rock”. Between approximately 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 1500 people lived in this 875 room pueblo. The location was strategic—it was near the only water source for many miles and located atop a nearly impenetrable bluff. Atsinna was partially excavated in the 1950s and masons and archeologists continue to work towards its stabilization.

Did You Know?

Image of the 1st ranger cabin/tourist shelter at El Morro National Monument

The first ranger cabin at El Morro National Monument, which also served as a tourist shelter, was built in the early 1900s and began as nothing more than a wooden shed.