El Morro National Monument is a U.S. national monument in Cibola County, New Mexico, United States. Located on an ancient east–west trail in the western part of the state, the monument preserves the remains of a large prehistoric pueblo atop a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base, which subsequently became a landmark where many centuries of explorers and travelers left historic inscriptions that survive today.
El Morro was designated a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt on December 8, 1906, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Today the site is managed by the National Park Service. The many inscription panels, water pool, pueblo ruins, and the top of the promontory are all accessible via park trails. El Morro is one of many prehistoric sites on the Trails of the Ancients Byway. In December 2019, the International Dark Sky Association certified El Morro as an International Dark Sky Park, recognizing its preservation of not only the historic inscriptions but also its natural night sky. With El Morro 40-50 miles from the closest cities, the night skies are clear, dark, and dramatic.
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!