ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

El Morro Park On Your Way to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Festival in New Mexico

Updated on August 1, 2013

El Morrow Park to/from Albuquerque New Mexico

El Morrow Park New Mexico:
El Morro National Monument, Ramah, NM 87321, USA

get directions

How to get to El Morro

El Morro is 42 miles west of Albuquerque New Mexico on interstate 40.

Take Exit 53 South for 42 miles to El Morro

This is a wonderful side trip either coming or going to the Albuquerque New Mexico Balloon Fiesta. You will also pass the Laguna and Acoma Pueblos. The country is wide and open and quite beautiful too!

El Morro National Monument New Mexico

Pasó por aquí: Passed by Here

El Morro (the headland) is a beautiful geological formation called a cuesta with a dependable source of water in the Northwest area of New Mexico. For centuries the stunning rock formations and the life giving water have attracted native peoples, conquistadors, and wagon trains to the site.

Water is life. El agua es la vida

El Morro is just south of Grants New Mexico. Today it is somewhat off the beaten path thanks to Interstate highways but we made our way there to see the beautiful pool and the exquisite petroglyphs as well as the rock inscriptions made by the Spanish Conquistadors and wagon train settler notes.

Humans all seem to have in interest in immortalizing themselves. The carvings at El Morro certainly prove that we like to 'leave our mark.'

The large pool of water at the base of the rock is solely fed from the water that runs off the promontory seasonally. The pool varies in size and depth because of the water fill. It was surrounded by a sandy beach during the time of the settlers and today it is surrounded by the common cat tail plants and rocky formations.

The rock formation is known as a cuesta which is a long formation that gently slopes upwards and drops off abruptly at one end. The rock is primarily composed of sandstone layers that will naturally degrade with water and wind over time.

The Puebloans, native peoples, occupied the native ruins Atsinna atop El Morro 2,000 years ago. Atsinna means 'place with writings on the rock.' Please see the pictures of some of these writings, petroglyphs left by these and other ancient peoples. They also lived in a pit style of house that used the land to provide both warmth and cool living quarters. The Puebloans also used the cuesta formation to help them build on a high a defensible ground.

The Zuňi people are descendents of these Puebloans. There are many Zuňi still living in New Mexico and this area remains their sacred homeland.

The first historical record of El Morro was in 1583 when Conquistador Antonio de Espejo recorded a stop at 'El Estanque de Penol', the pool at the great rock.

Other Conquistadors specifically Don Juan de Oňate's expedition, also left their mark at El Morro. Oňate inscribed his name at El Morro on April 16, 1605. This is the first known European inscription on the rock. Please see the link to Coronado State Park for more on Oňate and his travels through-out the area.

While the Conquistadores did not find gold they did find an enchanting land where people lived and prospered by understanding the land and the climate.

The Mexican-America War of 1846-48 made the area that is now New Mexico part of the USA. This opened up a southern route through to California. Up to that time the only route was through the Rocky Mountains, a dangerous pass through high mountains that was closed during the long winter months.

The petroglyphs were noted by an Army expedition led by Lt. James H. Simpson and accompanying artist, Richard Kern. Their inscription reads “Lt. J.H. Simpson, USA....R.H. Kern, Artist visited and copied these inscriptions, September 17th 18th 1849.”

The wagon trains of settlers heading to California left a multitude of inscriptions. Interestingly, most of the inscriptions were made by men, although at least one woman and one little girl left their names too! Please see the pictures.

Not to be out-done, when the railroad came through the area during a survey party, they too left their mark. The railroad steamed over the Continental Divide near El Morro. Again, the railroad first came through New Mexico because it was the southern route and more easily traversable by the big iron horse, the train.

We crossed the Continental Divide both coming and going to El Morro. The Continental Divide is the area where the water drainage is divided to water that flows to opposite sides of a continent. So, drainage on one side is to the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side the Pacific Ocean. The Continental Divide extends from the Canadian Rockies down through New Mexico.

In 1906 it became illegal to carve on El Morro. Now the park is protected and hosts hiking trails, a museum, and a nice visitor center. The inscriptions while protected will weather away naturally. The sandstone is easy to inscribe but also wears down with wind and rain.

El Morro is west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. There are many other natural sites to see in the area. You will also find yourself in the Southwest Indian lands. A visit to Gallup New Mexico is a must too.

Please ask questions about your visit to New Mexico. I will give you my best family and friend answers. There is plenty to do and see in and around Albuquerque! (I DO know where to go to buy great local jewelry at non-tourist prices!)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • NMLady profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Yes, The "we" in the article was my fam. I took the pictures. That is my fam pictured on the trail.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)