General Information

This great little National Monument has a visitor's center with a film, a camping area, a place to picnic, and since it is a National Monument you are allowed to bring your dog on a leash as long as the dog stays outside. It has two tiny trails, and technically part of one is part of the other. There are quite a few people on the lower loop trail called the Inscription Trail, and perhaps since the trail gets steep to get to the top, we found less people on the Headland Trail.

The Inscription Trail

Carved in Cursive Writing Message from Ramon Inscription from 1866 with Church

The trail is mostly flat and walks up to a small body of water that is picturesque, and then the main inscriptions begin. It is helpful to buy a trail guide so that you can match the descriptions in the guide to what you see on the rock. Inscriptions from Spaniards date earlier than the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. In some of the higher places you can also see Native American petroglyphs. Some of the clearer ones are near the E. Pen Long signature if you look up and right on to the red rock.

Petroglyph of man Petroglyph of bighorn sheep Petroglyphs with hands

The Headland Trail

The easy trail Prickly Pear Cactus View ofthe mesa

The Headland Trail extends from the Inscription Trail if you decide not to loop all the way back. It follows along the edge of the cliff and hugs it as it climbs up to the top. The exposure is very beautiful and one can imagine strategic for a settlement. The history above focuses on the Native American village called "Atsinna" where you can see the remains of an 875 room pueblo. About 1500 people lived here in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. We took our time on this trail and sat around and enjoyed the view below, the history around us, and the breeze in our faces.

Stairs on the trail Ruins of many rooms View inside room shows structures

We recommend this trail, but with sturdy shoes and enough water. The entire loop, including the part on the Inscription trail is about 2 miles. Because we took our time, but noting we are also strong hikers, this took about two hours from trail head to finish.