January 18-19, 2020 – Part 2 of 3 from a five day, four night road trip through New Mexico
After spending a full day in the northern part of New Mexico, Chris and I drove south and found a spot to camp in the central part of the state about 50 miles south of Albuquerque. We entered Cibola National Forest well after dark and drove around on dirt roads until we found a place to camp that had cell service. We couldn’t actually find an established camp spot, so we set up our cots in the middle of a dead-end dirt road to avoid disturbing the ground, somewhere near Mexican Tank above Cañon Saladito. We were up before sunrise this time, and after breakfast hit the road again.
Our first stop was at some amazing petroglyphs in a different Cañon Saladito a few miles away–I think the USGS wasn’t very careful when making maps in New Mexico! We spent perhaps 45 minutes looking at the rock art before moving on.
Next we checked out the ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. We visited all three sites: Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira. It was certainly fascinating to learn about the history of these missions and to see the huge scale of their buildings, but I enjoyed the small, remote, and less touristy ruins we’d visited the day before much more.
After eating some lunch, we drove about 90 miles to the Three Rivers petroglyphs. We spent a couple of hours there viewing the rock art, though I’m sure that wasn’t nearly enough time. There was a lot to see there but we didn’t have the luxury of exploring for too long.
That evening we drove well over 100 miles to our next camp spot almost on the Texas border near Alamo Mountain.
Photo Gallery: New Mexico II: Cañon Saladito and Three Rivers