Exploring Boca Negra Canyon: A Family-Friendly Hike


After living in Albuquerque for almost eight years, I finally decided to visit the petroglyphs on the west side of town. If you are looking for a family-friendly hike, then the Boca Negra Canyon trails are perfect! This hike is great for a busy weekend. It won’t take all day, doesn’t require a long drive, and can easily fit in before or after your Saturday sports.

When we first arrived, I was surprised to find that there were actually three different trails at this one location. Initially, I wasn’t sure if we would have time for all three. We soon discovered that we were able to see all three within an hour.

TIP: Be sure you bring cash for the $2.00 admission fee to the national monument.

Mesa Point Trail

The first trail we tried was Mesa Point Trail. It was the most difficult and longest of the three trails. It was very steep and involved climbing over large rocks. I would not recommend this trail for children under the age of five or for adults with difficulties walking or climbing stairs. There were some cement stairs built into the trail to make the climb easier.

Exploring Boca Negra Canyon: A Family Friendly Trail

Cliff Base Trail

After finishing Mesa Point Trail, we walked a short distance through a sandy trail to reach the picnic area, restrooms, and starting points for two other short trails. The bathrooms were very clean and even have running water (I was expecting an outhouse). Next we tried Cliff Base Trail. This trail was very similar to the Mesa Point Trail and involved some climbing. However it was much easier and very short (10 minutes round trip). We found some unique petroglyphs on the rocks and had fun exploring.

Exploring Boca Negra Canyon: A Family Friendly Trail

Macaw Trail

The last trail was Macaw Trail. It was so short that if you blink, you will miss it. The description states it takes five minutes, but I would say it only takes about one minute to complete the loop. I think it is called the Macaw Trail because of the bird-like petroglyph etched into a rock at the head of the trail.

Exploring Boca Negra Canyon: A Family Friendly Trail

Overall seeing all three trails was very interesting and made for a great Saturday morning.  I enjoy taking each of my kids out for one on one time with me. This hike was perfect for spending quality time with my little guy. In addition to this family-friendly hike, here are three more family-friendly trails that your kids will love!

Originally published August 2021.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.