We used ultrasound (US) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging modalities to characterize cattle trabecular bones. The PA signals were generated with an 805-nm continuous wave laser used for optimally deep optical penetration depth. The detector for both modalities was a 2.25-MHz US transducer with a lateral resolution of at its focal point. Using a lateral pixel size much larger than the size of the trabeculae, raster scanning generated PA images related to the averaged values of the optical and thermoelastic properties, as well as density measurements in the focal volume. US backscatter yielded images related to mechanical properties and density in the focal volume. The depth of interest was selected by time-gating the signals for both modalities. The raster scanned PA and US images were compared with microcomputed tomography () images averaged over the same volume to generate similar spatial resolution as US and PA. The comparison revealed correlations between PA and US modalities with the mineral volume fraction of the bone tissue. Various features and properties of these modalities such as detectable depth, resolution, and sensitivity are discussed.