The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is located north of Tularosa in southern New Mexico. The site is a few miles west of the Sacramento Mountains in the Tularosa Basin, and it is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. The Tularosa Basin is a portion of the Rio Grande Rift through which the Rio Grande River flows and which separates the Colorado Plateau on the west from the Southern High Plains on the east.
There are said to be over 21,000 petroglyphs at the site that were scratched or pecked through the desert varnish that covers the many small basalt boulders on a low ridge a few miles into the Tularosa valley from the mountains. The petroglyphs average a foot or so in size and were made by the Jornada (desert) branch of the Mogollon people. They were an indigeneous culture which occupied southern New Mexico, eastern Arizona and northern Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico from about 200 CE until just before the arrival of the Spanish in 1540 CE. Both their origin and disappearance are poorly understood. Archaeologists have determined that the Mogollon began as foragers who also farmed a little, and their farming became progressively more central to their culture. Their villages originally consisted of a few pit houses but soon comprised surface houses and even later cliff dwellings.