In this gallery you will find images of some of the historic inscriptions marking the trail around the base of El Morro, and several others from Nine Pine Cove. The original photographs were taken August 1, 2004 and June 9, 2010 by Kelley Hays-Gilpin of the Museum of Northern Arizona. They have since been enhanced to increase the legibility and clarity of the inscriptions.
Spanish conquistadors traveling under Francisco Vasquez de Coronado entered New Mexico and made it as far as Zuni by AD 1540. It was not until 1583, however, that the Spanish reached what is now El Morro National Monument, which Antonio de Espejo, a man sent in search of members of a previous Spanish expedition into New Mexico, described as El Estanque de Penol (pool at the great rock). Within five years of this recording, Don Juan de Onate officially colonized New Mexico, and on April 16, 1605, inscribed his name on the now famous Inscription Rock. Learn more on the NPS webpage The Spaniards.
The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) made New Mexico part of the United States. In 1849, the first Army expedition reached El Morro, and it was at this time Inscription Rock acquired its name. Emigrants to California also used the route through El Morro, as did Mormon settlers, Puebloan, and Navajo people. However, after 1881, when the first train crossed over the Continental Divide, the El Morro route ceased to be a common thoroughfare. Learn more on the NPS webpage The Americans.