Taos Archaeological Society

New Trip Announcement

Fall Field Trip to Three Rivers Petroglyph Park

September 28 and 29, 2016

The Taos Archaeological Society is planning a trip to the Three Rivers Petroglyph Park and to an active excavation at Creekside, a Jornada Mogollon site in the Tularosa, New Mexico area.  If you wish to join this trip, please notify Carl Calvert at ccalvert@hardhatlaw.net. The hike to the North end of the Three Rivers ridge is limited to 15 persons. A brief description of each of the hikes is below.

Each member participating in this field trip will donate $75.00 to the Jornada Research Institute.  Joan Price and David Greenwald of the Institute have graciously agreed to lead on some trips and in education of our members.  As part of the charges each participating member will receive a one year membership in the Jornada Research Institute.  A membership form is attached.  Please bring it with you when we start on September 28th.   When we notify you that you have been included in the trip we will collect the payment (check made out to Jornada Research Institute for $75.00).  Those participating in the trip to the Creekside excavation on Thursday September 29, 2016 must complete a Release which is attached. Have it with you to give the Institute.

Three Rivers Petroglyph Park

The BLM Website says the following about the Site:

“The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is one of the few locations in the Southwest set aside solely because of its rock art. It is also one of the few sites giving visitors such direct access to petroglyphs. The number and concentration of petroglyphs here make it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyphs sites in the Southwest. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico's northern Chihuahuan Desert. The petroglyphs at Three Rivers, dating back to between about 900 and 1400 AD, were created by Jornada Mogollon people who used stone tools to remove the dark patina on the exterior of the rock. A small pueblo ruin is nearby and Sierra Blanca towers above to the east.”

 “A rugged half-mile trail begins at the visitor shelter and links many of the most interesting petroglyphs. Another short trail begins on the east side of the picnic area and leads to the remains of a Mogollon village, whose inhabitants were likely responsible for the petroglyphs. Occupied for about 400 years, the site was partially excavated in 1976. On the village site, there are foundations of three types of prehistoric buildings. A small pueblo ruin is nearby and Sierra Blanca towers above to the east.”


The trail at the Park is open to all visitors.

Hike:   North End of Three Rivers Petroglyph Ridge (September 28)

Three Rivers Petroglyph Park is on the South end of a ridge.  It is on BLM land.  The North end of the ridge is on NM State Land and it also has hundreds of glyphs.  We have a permit to hike back to the North end and climb up to the petroglyph concentrations.  There is a trail to the North end but no trail to these petroglyph concentrations once at the North end. Viewing them involves climbing up the ridge and over and around the boulders on which the glyphs have been placed.  This hike will be challenging and require agility with some strenuous parts.  This part of the trip will be limited to fifteen (15) members. The hike will start by meeting at 8:30 AM at the Park on September 28th. Joan Price with the Institute will accompany us and lead us to some great petroglyphs.

Hike:   Jornada Mogollon Creekside excavation site (September 29)

On Thursday morning at 8:30 AM we will meet in Tularosa for a trip guided by David Greenwald who is in charge of the excavation and research on the site. Tularosa is 28 miles south of Three Rivers. The hike will take between 3 and 4 hours with on lunch (bring your own) along the river.  This hike involves wading across the river and one section of the trail is a twisty climb from the river up to the site.

Creekside Village has a great kiva and other community features (65+ pit houses, a reservoir and irrigation system) reflect a highly structured social order tied to subsistence needs. Initial paleo-botanical studies suggest heavy dependence on agriculture, with a focus on corn/maize. Discoveries at Creekside Village have far ranging implications into existing concepts of the organizational strategies of Jornada Mogollon groups who occupied the Tularosa Basin during the Formative period (A.D. 1 to 1450).

HikeAdditional hike to a knoll West of the Three Rivers Petroglyph Park.

After returning from Tularosa and Creekside there will be an opportunity to go with Joan Price to a knoll West of the Park.  The hike is short but without a trail, will be challenging and require agility for some strenuous parts. In addition to the hikes, we anticipate having some group activities

Travel:  You are on your own for travel arrangements. Given the time needed I anticipate driving down on September 27th and returning on September 30th. Three Rivers Petroglyph Park is 5 hours from Taos using US 68, US 285 and I-25 through Socorro and then US 380 to Carrizozo to US 54 to the turn off to Three Rivers Road.  You can also go through Santa Fe and then on US 285 to Clines Corners, NM 3 and  US 54. This route is minimally different in time.

Camping:  [None of these camps offer reservations.]

Petroglyph Park Camp: There is a camping site at the petroglyph park. Fees are $7 per night either in an RV or camp site but not with a hook-up. If participants want a "hook-up," it is $18 per night. There is no reservation service. There are 2 hook-ups on a first come first basis. However there is no discount for "hook-up" sites. Those who have Senior pass receive a %50 discount on camp or RV sites and the day use fee is free. There are numerous tent platforms of concrete.

Three Rivers Lincoln National Forest Campground: Thirteen miles from US 54 on Forest Road 579 past the Three Rivers Petroglyph Park. There are 12 campsites, water, vault toilets and trash collection.  The forest service calls the campground “rustic.” Explore New Mexico says “This campground is notable for the large trees which separate the various campsites and the spectacular vistas of Sierra Blanca and the Tularosa basin.” Charges are $6.00 per site per night.


Valley of Fires Recreation Area: Valley of Fires recreation area is located four miles west of Carrizozo on US 380. The recreation area has 19 campsites with picnic shelters, tables, grills, and potable water at each site. RV electric hookups are available at 14 sites. Two sites are wheel chair accessible. The full facility bathroom is fully accessible and has showers. Vault toilets are available throughout the park. It is immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow and has a paved interpretive trail through the lava flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.

Valley of Fires is about 45 minutes from Three Rivers.


Motel or Hotel accommodations:

If you wish to stay at a motel/hotel you will need to investigate availability on your own. I am told that there are a couple of motels in Carrizozo. However you may need to go to Alamogordo for motel and hotel accommodations. Alamogordo is about 45 minutes South of Three Rivers.

In addition if you ask to join either of the planned hikes at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, you are affirming that you are physically able to take the hikes which involve climbing slopes that do not have trails and the ability to climb around in boulder covered terrain.  Regardless, you may be denied joining the hike in the discretion of the wrangler. Those that cannot go on the Three Rivers hikes may still want to go.  If that is the case then let Carl know so that you can be counted but not counted for the total on the hikes at Three Rivers.


Taos Archaeological Society

PO Box 143

Taos, NM, 87571


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