The Bureau of Land Management calls Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument a “remarkable outdoor laboratory” but we like to think of it more as a stunning recreational and geological observatory. Tent Rocks is known for water sculpted sandstone hoodoos (also called tent rocks), which are soft cliffsides that have been eroded by years of weather to form thin cone like spires and slot canyons that look like stretched taffy.
On this 3-mile round trip scenic hike, 25 miles south of Santa Fe, you’ll get to see these incredible tent rock formations with boulder caps, poised like hats, on tall columnar bodies of rock.
Here, two different geologic processes formed the rock layers. It began with volcanic eruptions in the nearby Jemez Mountains 6.7 to 7 million years ago that formed igneous rock. This rock, also called “tuff” was a by-product of silvery-gray pumice and ash ejected from numerous vents that fell throughout the region.
Other eruptions threw out larger fragments of igneous rock called “rhyolite,” which ranges in color from light gray to red. Today, you can see these two types of rock together forming ethereal shapes and scenes and it has developed the multi-colored textured landscape that this region is famous for. These particularly otherworldly shapes and scenes, at Tent Rocks, were created in a micro-climate area where wind and water erosion gradually stripped away the sedimentary rocks’ sides.
After you climb about 650 feet up, going through slight one-person wide tunnels and oohing and ahhing over the slot canyon’s hoodoos and striated rock formations, you’ll reach the top’s dramatic views of the Sandia mountains, the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the Jemez mountain range.
Upon the 45-minute drive back you’ll top off your hiking tour savoring a delicious lunch at Opuntia, one of Santa Fe’s finest neighborhood cafes with a lovely outdoor setting. This will be a lovely way to reflect upon your experience at Tent Rocks!
Have you always wanted to see some ethereal rock formations and wind your way through tall canyon walls? Well, this is your way to do it while on your trip to New Mexico! Book your trip today and we’ll take care of all of the details for your outdoor Tent Rocks adventure.
Hiking Terrain Elevation at 5,731 ft
Slot Canyon Trail | 1.5 miles roundtrip
Involves some climbing and narrow places between canyon walls. Trail switchbacks up 640 feet up to the plateau.
Cave Loop | 1.2 miles optional add-on
Hiking along designated trail following curve along upper edge of a side valley, crossing a view of sandy washes while staying fairly level.
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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is a National Monument in partnership of Cochiti Pueblo and the Bureau of Land Management.
Due to impact on the trails they have not opened to public.
We would suggest checking out these tours that are similar to the topography and cultural highlights.
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