A few previously published articles describe the hike to Kin Kletso and Casa Chiquita on the Penasco Blanco Trail. Both of these destinations are within a comfortable hiking distance for most people and an ancient petroglyph wall is located only about one mile further ahead. From the start of the Penasco Blanco Trail by Pueblo Bonito, the total round trip distance to the petroglyph wall is about five miles. This 5 mile out and back over flat ground can be done in just a few hours, so the petroglyph wall trek is a nice choice for a healthy little day trip excursion. For those who seek more of a challenge, the total distance for the round trip to the Super Nova Pictograph and Penasco Blanco Pueblo at the end of the line is over 14 miles, which certainly will burn up some calories.
The Penasco Blanco Trail closely parallels the sandstone mesa bluffs, so while hiking it pays to stop to take a glance at the rock wall, because scattered petroglyphs can be seen in unexpected places. The first couple of petroglyphs can be spotted around the bend in the canyon on the way to Casa Chiquita and after developing an eye for what to look for, a few more can be noticed along the way. Spotting the scattered few petroglyphs along this trail is much easier on an overcast day and sunglasses will help to cut the glare from the yellow sandstone on a bright sunny day.
About a mile past Casa Chiquita is where the Petroglyph Spur Trail begins. This trail runs between the mesa bluff and the Penasco Blanco Trail, so it is easy to navigate. After taking a few steps on the Petroglyph Trail, the first ancient rock carvings will appear. There is literally one newspaper rock after another for quite a distance down this trail, so be sure to set plenty of time aside for deciphering the ancient messages. The meanings of each rock art example range from native klan symbols to detailed depictions of regional hunting grounds. There are also a lot of carvings that lie in the realm of intangibilities, which have to do with solar events from eons ago and mysteries that have yet to be solved. Because there is so much head scratching material to be pondered over, be sure to chalk the Penasco Blanco Trail Petroglyph Wall high on the list when planning a tour of Chaco Canyon!
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