Thursday, January 28, 2010

Alamo Mountain Petroglyphs, Southern NM

I had heard about this mountain and the many Petroglyphs it held and had been wanting to explore it for some time now. Wednesday morning before the next scheduled winter storm I decided to do just that. The day was just right 60 degrees and partly cloudy perfect exploring weather. Alamo Mountain is located on the southern end of the Otero Mesa in southern NM. It is a vast grassland managed by the BLM with a small mountain chain to the south on the Texas border which includes Alamo Mountain.

The trip started with a drive to County Road 506 approx 20+ miles south of Alamogordo, NM. Once on the 506 it's approx 35-40 mile out onto the Otero Mesa and south to the mountain.

The Mesa is a large expanse with seemingly never ending roads.

The mountain is not marked and there are no signs leading to it or the parking area. So part of the adventure is finding it as there are many roads leading around the mountain. While attempting to find the parking area (which I had only heard of) I stumbled across this structure, it was in the shap of a W with 2 distinct rooms, again no signs or info on what it was, just at the base of the mountain.

I finally stumbled across the parking area and was feeling better (almost gave up)

Once at the parking area, you walk toward the mountain a through a small opening in the fenceline. Once through the fence there is no trail or signs leading the way, you just hike toward the mountain and begin exploring until you start to run across the Petroglyphs. It was quite a hike to the first ones, I won't tell you how to find them, as that is part of the adventure. Below are the ones I ran across, I was pressed for time so only checked out the ones in this area. There are approx 10,000 Petroglyphs on the mountain and only 10% have been documented.

The Petroglyphs are approx 150-300 years old and were left here by the Tigua Tribe of the Ysleta del sur Pueblo. More information on the subject may be found here:
View from the site north across the Otero Mesa to the southern Sacramento Mountains.

View to the west across the Mesa.

Looking down on the parking area, you can just see the dark speck that is the Jeep.

Time to head home, the trip across the Mesa take about an hour or so, it's a beautiful area surrounded by various mountain chains. This one will be on my list of places to return to for more indepth exploring.


frank said...

I have been here also it is awesome.I would say that these are not Tigua and are much older. Some of the more faded petroglyphs are certainly at least 1000 years old and the remainders are more than likely Jornado Mogollon. See Hueco Tanks and 3 Rivers for more info.

Jay Foster said...

Are there any signs on the roads out there? Could you provide any better directions?
Thank you, we are planning to be in this area next month.