A short drive over Taos Junction Bridge and up a steep dirt road with several switchbacks to the West Rim of the Rio Grande Gorge will take you to the trailhead of Petaca Point Trail. Petaca Canyon is an easy four miles, along the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge. Because the trail runs along the ridge, the mesa grasses and flowers are beautiful, and the 360 views are amazing. The wind and sun can also be amazing, so early morning is the best time of day to take this walk.
The best part of this walk is exploring for petroglyphs. There are many along the rocks. Petaca means “case used to carry belongings when travelling” mostly tobacco or cigarettes. And it has been said that there is treasure hidden in the canyons along the Rio Grande. So we like to think that the travelers stashed their bags in the nooks along the Rio here. It is a good reason to explore. I don’t know if it has been said from a credible source or not, but it is credible enough to keep my husband and son exploring the rocks and canyons for years, so either way the “legend” is worth something in my family.
Located in the Rio Grande Recreation Area just down the hill from Taos. The trail is off the road from Pilar and the Taos Junction Bridge. It is a great morning hike–and the mud is fun too.