Slot Canyon Tent Rocks New Mexico

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
LocationSandoval County, New Mexico, United States
Nearest cityCochiti Pueblo, NM
Coordinates35°39′37″N106°24′30″W / 35.66028°N 106.40833°WCoordinates: 35°39′37″N106°24′30″W / 35.66028°N 106.40833°W
Area5,402 acres (21.86 km2)[1]
EstablishedJanuary 17, 2001
Governing bodyU.S. Bureau of Land Management
WebsiteKasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Hiking through the slot canyons at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a must when near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Slot Canyon Hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks - Trailing Away The slot canyon hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks exemplified everything we have grown to love about New Mexico: Surprising beauty, unique history & inspiration! The soft, pumice tent rocks are the remains of a once-active volcano that was spewed lava over the area six to seven million years ago. Over time, erosion created their tent-like shape, and you can see them up close on the Tent Rocks Slot Canyon and Cave Loop Trail. Cly'ta Gosling/Alltrails. A father and his two sons hike into a slot canyon at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. There is no mistaking the correct path to follow along this well-trodden trail, yet it's easy to lose yourself when you discover moments of silence among these old rocks.

Tent rocks slot canyon trail new mexico
A narrow section of the slot canyon

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located approximately 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, near Cochiti Pueblo. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), it was established as a U.S. National Monument by President Bill Clinton in January 2001. Kasha-Katuwe means 'white cliffs' in the Pueblo language Keresan.[2] The monument is a unit of the BLM's National Conservation Lands.


Kasha-Katuwe is located on the Pajarito Plateau between 5700 and 6400 feet (1737–1951 m) above sea level. The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from eruptions within the volcanic field of the Jemez Mountains that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. These rock layers are assigned to the Peralta Tuff. Many of the layers are light in color, which is the origin of the monument's Keresan name. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created slot canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks are composed of soft pumice and tuff. Most of the tent rocks have a distinctly conical shape and some retain their caprocks of harder stone. The tent rocks vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet (27 m).[2]

Tent rocks slot canyon trail new mexicoMexico

Recreational activities[edit]

The BLM maintains hiking trails as well as parking and restrooms at the site. The Slot Canyon trail is a one-way trail covering 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through a slot canyon and up a climb of 630 feet (190 m) to a lookout point where the tent rocks may be viewed from above. The Cave Loop trail is approximately 1.2 miles (1.9 km) and leads past the base of the cliffs, near some of the tent rocks and a small cavate similar to those found at the nearby Bandelier National Monument. The Veterans' Memorial Scenic Overlook, dedicated in 2004, includes a 1 mile (1.6 km) loop trail and views of Peralta Canyon and the Jemez Mountains. The overlook is located at the end of a gravel road approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of the tent rocks and may not be accessible depending on road and weather conditions.

The monument is open for day use only and may be closed by order of the Cochiti Pueblo Tribal Governor. Considerations for hiking include the possibility of flash flooding in the slot canyons and the high altitude of the monument. The monument is closed to dogs.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The science fiction television series Earth 2 filmed scenes at the monument.

See also[edit]


  1. ^'National Monument detail table as of April 2012'(PDF). Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  2. ^ abc'Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument'. Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved September 24, 2018.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
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Located about 50 miles north of Albuquerque, this place is one of my favorite locations in the entire state. I’ve done the hike several times and the level of amazement and wonder at the beauty to be found there has not yet waned. The Slot Canyon Trail at the Kasha-Katuwe* Tent Rocks National Monument is an opportunity to marvel at what the passage of time can do to a landscape.

Slot Canyon Tent Rocks New Mexico

*Kasha-Katuwe means “white rocks” in Keresan, a pueblo language. The national monument is located near the Cochiti Pueblo.

The name “Tent Rocks” comes from the cone-shaped rock formations (also called hoodoos) created from a volcanic explosion over 6-7 million years ago. The monument includes several areas for hiking and sightseeing, including the Veteran’s Memorial Scenic Overlook, Shelter Cave, the Cave Loop, and the Slot Canyon Trail.

The trail is a three-mile loop that is easily done in about two and a half to three hours. It is a beginner-level hike, which is great for someone like me who isn’t a hiker but enjoys the great outdoors. Both the Cave Loop and Slot Canyon Trail begin at the same place, just off the parking lot. The Cave Loop trail circles the base of the tent rocks and is a mile loop, dotted with juniper trees and posted information about the geology and history of the area. At the half mile point of the loop, the Slot Canyon Trail breaks off to the right.

As the trail winds through the canyon, a large tree with gnarled roots big enough to hide behind acts as your portal to a sacred place. Once past the tree, the canyon walls rise up and the trail gets narrow. The modern world and all its trouble and worries disappear within this place as you wind past boulders and rocks and view trees and bushes that literally grow and survive off the sides of the canyon. The weight of time and the past pull you from your worries and cares as you begin to understand the temporariness of your place in the universe.

The first part of the Slot Canyon Trail is a gradual easy increase in elevation. Around the mid-point, the trail gets steep. You have to scramble over boulders and rocks as the path continues to rise. Railroad ties placed within the side of the mesa assist in the ascent, but it is still a steep journey. For someone afraid of heights (like me) there is always a big fear of just how temporary my place in the universe might actually become, but at Tent Rocks I always push past that, which is a sign of how wonderful this place is.

When you reach the top you’ll experience some truly beautiful views, as it seems you see the entire northern part of the state from here. After taking some time to rest and experience the beauty of the area, you’ll go back down the way you came, but you’ll be changed. And if you’re not changed, you’re not doing it right.

Tips for Your Visit

Slot Canyon Tent Rocks New Mexico

  • There is a $5 fee to get into the area. Check out their site to ensure they are open the day you visit.
  • Try to get there as early as possible (the monument opens at 7 a.m. in the spring and summer and 8 a.m. in the fall and winter). The Slot Canyon Trail is narrow in certain spots, and at the midpoint of the loop it you have to climb over some rocks and boulders as the elevation increases. If you go earlier, you don’t have to wait for other hikers, and you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of being overheard by anyone as you wail about the heights and curse openly at Little Trickster for talking you into this trip (but maybe that’s just me).
  • Bring your own drinking water, as there isn’t any running water at monument. Also, if hiking in the spring or summer, be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen, as there is pretty much no shade.
  • Be sure to bring proper footwear. While the hike is easy, it’s not flip-flop easy.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the trail.

Slot Canyon At Tent Rocks - New Mexico

Visit the official site for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks.