El Morro National Monument

Location: western New Mexico
Date: February 25, 2011

The El Morro cliffs

The most prominent feature at El Morro National Monument is a sandstone cliff that looks out of place in the surrounding environment.  At the base of this cliff is a small pool of water.  This pool turned El Morro into a stop along an ancient trail that was used for centuries by Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and early Americans.

A small section of Inscription Rock

Many of the people who passed by here left their own mark near the pool on the cliff walls on what is now called Inscription Rock.  The U.S. Army frequented El Morro in the mid-1800s during and after the Mexican-American War.  In the dry Southwest the Army actually experimented using camels instead of horses and brought them to El Morro, but during the Civil War the camels fell into Confederate hands and the experiment was ended.

The view from on top of the El Morro cliffs

On top of the cliff are the ruins of an ancient 80 room pueblo that dates from around AD 1275 and probably housed as many as 1500 people.  A two mile paved loop trail takes you to the pool and Inscription Rock (less than 0.5 mile one way) to the ruins on the top of the cliff.

Some of the ruins on top of the cliffs

El Morro is a few miles west of El Malpais National Monument and east of Petrified Forest National Park.



© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.





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