Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 32.03224°N / 105.63784°W
Additional Information County: Otero
Activities Activities: Hiking
Additional Information Elevation: 6670 ft / 2033 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Alamo Mountain and Petroglyph

Alamo Mountain is located in the Cornudas Mountain range in Otero County, New Mexico. The Cornudas Range is located along the Texas/New Mexico border between the cities of El Paso, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. In addition Alamo Mountain is located in a region known as Otero Mesa. Alamo Mountain, at 6.670 feet above sea level, features 1,460 feet of prominence which ranks it #91 on the New Mexico Prominence list.

Alamo Mountain is part of the Cornudas Mountain Range, a cluster laccolith formations of the middle-Cenozoic. They were formed when igneous materials made their way into Permian age sedimentary rocks. The name Cornudas is Spanish for horns, probably due to the Cornudas Mountains resemblance to horns rising from the flat plains below.

There are many different routes that could be taken to ascend to the summit of Alamo Mountain. There are two summits on the relatively flat mesa top.
Grassy Area Near Alamo Mountain Summit

The western summit is the higher of the two and a summit carin with a register in a glass bottle can be found there.
Alamo Mountain Summit CairnSummit Cairn

Register Container

Alamo Mountain Register

Overlook at summit of Alamo MountainThe view west from the summit area

View East from near the Summit of Alamo MountainThe view east towards the Guadalupe Mountains from the summit area

Getting There

Directions to Alamo Mountain from El Paso, Texas

View Directions to Alamo Mountain, NM in a larger map

Directions to Alamo Mountain from Carlsbad, New Mexico

View Directions to Alamo Mountain, NM in a larger map

Red Tape

The Eastern States Rock Art Research Association offers these 10 tips for visiting rock art sites. While these tips were created by an organization based in the eastern united States, the principles are valid anywhere where rock art is found.

1. It is a good idea to not touch rock art. Touching rock art with your hands can rub the paint off pictographs and wear away petroglyph surfaces. Your hands leave oil and grit on the surface of anything you touch. Believe it or not, rock surfaces are alive – teaming with bacteria, lichen, and other microorganisms. Altering this surface, from a scientific perspective, can arrest the development of natural processes, and therefore confound their rate of formation, which may some day be used to estimate the age of the rock art. Please do not touch, walk, climb on rock art.

2. It is also good idea to not smoke, camp, or build fires within one-quarter mile of a rock art site or archaeological site. Even building a camp fire near a rock art site can cause heat damage, spalling, and blackening of fragile rock surfaces.

3. You should not collect or disturb any archaeological remains. Do not remove vegetation such as lichens, moss, leaves, vines, roots, or trees. Collecting artifacts or disturbing archaeological features (such as hearths, rock arrangements, and soil) can destroy the context of the site, and information about the past is lost for ever.

4. Step lightly and minimize your impact on the nature environment. Do not litter or leave behind anything.

5. Never graffiti rock art sites, even though someone else may have done so. Pecking, engraving, scratching, rubbing or repainting destroys rock art sites forever. Do not attempt to remove graffiti.

6. You should not apply any substance such as liquid, powder, plastic, chalk, cloth, soil, or paper to enhance photography or drawing. Despite the ability to enhance photography, application of materials to rock art surfaces may forever alter its integrity. This has been found to be particularly true in radio metric age estimation of rock surfaces.

7. You should not allow your children or pets to conduct themselves in a manner that may damage rock art sites.

8. It is a good idea to minimize the number of vehicles when visiting a rock art site. Stay on existing roads and trails. Do not create your own trail or road. Where possible stay at least 10 feet from rock art panels.

9. Be a steward for cultural heritage! If you discover a rock art site, report your discoveries to officials as soon as possible. Your local University may have archaeologists to help you. In addition, every state has a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Contact them to report your discoveries of rock art or recent site damage, along with any information about vandals.

10. Importantly, you should observe the rules of the site land owner or public land management where they are more restrictive than all of the above. Obtain permission before you visit.

BLM Heritage Site Visitation Guidelines

Alamo Mountain Rock Art

There are over 10,000 different petroglyph images pecked into the igneous rocks at Alamo Mountain. Many of these petroglyphs have not yet been scientifically recorded.
Alamo Mountain Petroglyphs in Black & White

Alamo Mountain Petroglyphs

Alamo Mountain Petroglyphs

Butterfield Overland Mail Station

Located at the base of Alamo Mountain are the ruins of a station used by the Butterfield Overland Mail called Ojos de los Alamos or Cottonwood Springs. The Butterfield Overland Mail was a stagecoach route used to deliver the US mail and transport passengers between San Francisco, CA and either St Louis, Mo or Memphis, TN. It operated from 1857 to 1861.
Butterfield Mail Station Ruins at the base of Alamo MountainAt the Butterfield Station Ruins.

External Links

Coalition for Otero Mesa
BLM New Mexico, Las Cruces Field Office
Archeological Society of New Mexico: Rock Art Council
October 11, 2011 Trip Report