As we worked our way toward Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument, we stopped at another place we drove past on our first trip. The Valley of Fires Recreation Area, near Carrizzo, New Mexico, has 19 campsites on a ridge that overlooks the Malpais Lava Flow.
Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak, a vent about 9 miles north, erupted and lava 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. This lava flow is one of the youngest in the continental United States.
The campground is run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and besides the 19 campsites, 14 with electric and water hookup, there is a small visitor center, and a developed one mile loop trail through the lava flow down below. It is a very nice and easy walk through the lava flow to view different forms of lava, some caves, and of course flora and fauna. It was a quiet and scenic campground and we mostly enjoyed our stay there.
The problem was that our elderly dog was having some significant health issues, again. At this point, he can’t take very long walks and he also can’t be left alone for very long. He’s had some serious diarrhea on his walks and at night in the rv. His limp has gotten worse and we can see that he is in more pain. We’ll have to watch him very closely right now and if he doesn’t show improvement soon, we will have to visit a veterinarian.
From the Valley of Fires, it’s a short drive to Three Rivers Petroglyphs. At this site are outstanding examples of ancient Jornada Mogollon rock art dating from about A.D. 900 to 1400. There are more than 21,000 petroglyphs that can be found at this site alone on a basaltic ridge. The number and concentration of petroglyphs here make this one of the largest and most interesting rock art sites in the Southwest.
This is another BLM site which also offers a large picnic area with tables, shade shelters, and two rv sites with electric hook ups. The trail to view the petroglyphs is 0.5 miles up and along the ridge. But make sure to go off the trail to explore more of the very many interesting petroglyphs. I had so much fun climbing through the rocks and discovering different and unique petroglyphs that it took the sunset to send me back home to my rv. I loved it!
We saw only a fraction of the petroglyphs and took pictures of probably 100 or more. Here are just a few more of the petroglyphs.