Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Visited 2017.11.09
Three Rivers, New Mexico

Dating back to somewhere between 900 and 1400 AD, the Jornada Mogollon people left some 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as geometric and abstract designs, scattered on rocks covering over 50 acres in New Mexico's northern Chihuahuan Desert. The BLM’s Three Rivers Petroglyph Site offers visitors direct access to some of them, by way of a rugged one-mile hiking trail.

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site at

I arrived here in the evening and had the place to myself. Not sure what to expect exactly, I was astounded by the fact that just about everywhere I looked, there were drawings to be found. And the variety, complexity and creativity of the art was impressive. As an illustrator and a designer, I could tell I wasn’t just looking at someone’s random doodles.

When the sun began to set, casting the terrain in a warm orange glow, I took the opportunity to sit on the rocks and take things in. A thought occurred to me — that under the same sun, these people had managed to reach across time with their art, from over a 1,000 years ago, and in some small way connect with another human like me. And that it was hard to imagine anything I’ve created or may ever create, managing that feat, even with all of today’s fancy technology at my disposal. I guess humans are leaving their mark for the future in other ways, in this day and age.