Mysterious Carved Rocks of Los Alamos – Los Alamos, New Mexico - Atlas Obscura

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Mysterious Carved Rocks of Los Alamos

These strange carved boulders in a forested canyon resemble tiny stone villages. 


Descending into Pueblo Canyon in Los Alamos, one may find themselves distracted from the beautiful forest by the terrain. The rocky path is rough, but as hikers look down to negotiate the trail, they may spot something else—strange carvings in the soft tuff rock, resembling small stone cities and terraces.

The carvings are unknown even to residents of Los Alamos. Although these strange carvings appear to have ancient origins, they are believed to be more recent. 

Many believe that the carvings were created by Los Alamos Ranch School students. A former teacher reported in a 1946 newspaper article that the rocks were carved shortly after World War I by students emulating the Pueblo ruins they studied on field trips. Some former students have disagreed, saying the school would not have allowed this kind of vandalism to occur. In any case, the little stone markings have remained a mystery for decades. 

Know Before You Go

The trailhead to the carved rocks is located on the west side of a dirt pullout near the corner of Canyon Road and 15th Street, just behind the Masonic Temple. The rocks can be seen on either side of the trail just a short way into the canyon. Some people have reported seeing more than 30 distinct carvings.

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