Puerco Pueblo Trail is a very short, paved walk in Petrified Forest National Park. This trail has a restroom at the trailhead as well as a fair sized parking area. The walk has some really nice petroglyphs as well as the only ruins that you can visit in the park.
The trail to Puerco Pueblo, which is a third of a mile loop, starts out at the south end of the parking lot. After only a few dozen yards, the ruins are visible. These ruins aren’t pueblo style like you might see across a canyon at Mesa Verde. Instead, they are foundations of ancient buildings right at your feet. There is a fairly large complex of ruins. Park literature claims that there were over 100 rooms in this area a long time ago.
There are also many petroglyphs along the trail. The most interesting one is a small swirl. I know that doesn’t sound interesting, but it is perfectly aligned with a crack in a large rock. On the summer solstice a narrow beam of light shines through the crack and hits the center of the spiral. Paleontologists believe this was used as a calendar to help the ancient people keep track of planting and harvesting times.
The trail continues around the small loop and comes to a modern building. Inside there is a little refuge from the heat as well as information on the people who lived in this area. There are also some hands-on exhibits for the kids to enjoy.
Puerco Pueblo Trail is an easy paved walk that is appropriate for all abilities, including those on wheels. The trail only takes 20-30 minutes. It’s a great stop on your trip to Petrified Forest National Park.