Hiking El MorroEl Morro National Monument is home to two trails. Stop by the visitor center and talk to a ranger to find the trail that's right for you. The trails are only accessible when the visitor center is open.
The Inscription TrailA 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 American 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.
The Inscription Trai must be started no later than 4:00 pm.
The Headland TrailThis 2–mile loop includes the Inscription Trail, and continues to the top of the bluff and takes approximately two hours. 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.
The Headlands Trail must be started no later than 3:00 pm.
Portions or all of the Headland Trail can close due to ice and snow during the winter months (December -April).
Another reward for hiking the Headland Trail is the Ancestral Puebloan dwelling, Atsinna, or “place of writings on rock”. Between approximately 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 600 people lived in this 355 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.
Last updated: September 2, 2022