The Zuni Indians call it "A'ts'ina" (place of writings on the rock), the Spaniard conquistadors called it "El Morro" (The Headland), and the American pioneers called it "Inscription Rock". El Morro National Monument is a fascinating mixture of both human and natural history. Rising 200 feet above the valley floor, this massive sandstone bluff was a welcome landmark for weary travelers. A reliable waterhole hidden at its base made El Morro (or Inscription Rock) a popular campsite. While travelers rested in its shade and drank from the pool, many carved their signatures, pictures, dates, and messages in the soft sandstrone cliff. Today over 2000 inscriptions and petroglpyphs are visible.
Prehistoric Puebloan Indians were the first to discover the oasis pool hidden at its base. Between 1275 and 1350 they constructed an 875 room village fortress high atop the bluff, where at least 1500 people lived. Then after only 75 years they abandoned their village for unknown reasons. Atsinna Pueblo is larger than the better know pueblo ruins at Chaco Canyon.
At the Visitor Center rangers are available to answer your questions and orient you to the facilities and self guiding trails.
Area Information -- In addition to the campground inside the Monument, there is a campground and cafe 1 miles east of the monument entrance, in the village of El Morro. Other motels and campgrounds are located in Zuni, Grants, and Gallup. For information call the Grants Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-748-2142 or the Gallup Convention and Visitor Bureau 1-800-242-4282.