El Morro National Monument (New Mexico)

… was established by President Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act 106 years ago today (December 8, 1906).

El Morro

Paso por aqui . . . A reliable waterhole hidden at the base of a massive sandstone bluff made El Morro (the bluff) a popular campsite. Ancestral Puebloans settled on the mesa top over 700 years ago. Spanish and American travelers rested, drank from the pool and carved their signatures, dates and messages for hundreds of years. Today, El Morro National Monument protects over 2,000 inscriptions and petroglyphs, as well as Ancestral Puebloan ruins.


Explorers and travelers have known of the pool by the great rock for centuries. A valuable water source and resting place, many who passed by inscribed their names and messages in the rock next to petroglyphs left by ancient Puebloans. The ruins of a large pueblo located on top of El Morro were vacated by the time the Spaniards arrived in the late 1500s, and its inhabitants may have moved to the nearby pueblos in Zuni and Acoma. As the American West grew in population, El Morro became a break along the trail for those passing through and a destination for sightseers. As the popularity of the area increased, so did the tradition of carving inscriptions on the rock. To preserve the historical importance of the area and initiate preservation efforts on the old inscriptions, El Morro was established as a national monument by a presidential proclamation on December 8, 1906.

El Morro National Monument

NewMexiKen photo 2007Click to enlarge

NewMexiKen photo 2007
Click to enlarge

NewMexiKen photo 2007Click to enlarge

NewMexiKen photo 2007
Click to enlarge