How To Visit: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Where Is It Located?

New Mexico! About a 30-45 minute drive South-West of Santa Fe!

How to Get There?

Do not use Waze or GoogleMaps to get here! Visit the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks website for directions on how to get there from Santa Fe, or Albuquerque. This is important. The monument is close to lands that are not accesible. It is important to be respectful and not send a lot of traffic through protected lands.

Driving Directions from Santa Fe, NM

Respect The Area!

Tent Rocks is close to the Cochiti Pueblo. Please be respectful. Be mindful of road closures, do not speed, and follow all rules and guidelines of the National Monument.

Geology & Geography:

Thanks to Volcanic eruptions 6-7 million years ago, that left a 1000 foot layer of material that has slowly eroded over time, we enjoy these unique formations, today. Millions of years of erosion from water and wind has left us with spectacular slot canyons and hoo-doo formations. At the national monument, you will see formations up to 90 feet high.

What I Packed:

Lots of water in a re-usable water bottle

A great pair of approach hiking shoes that prevent you from slipping – we saw so many turn around because they felt uncertain while scrambling some of these rocks / steps

Sunscreen that works for when you’re sweating, and for your face (that is also good for you, and the environment)

Small hiking day-pack, my backpack is similar to this Lululemon one and has gotten me through long days in Europe and short hikes, I love that it’s durable enough to put down in the dirt or get rained on, yet cute enough to wear nearly anywhere.

My new favorite sunglasses (super affordable and extremely durable, and they don’t fall off your face!!!)

Cameras (we used an old Nikon SLR & iPhone 11 / 11 Pro for these photos)

Entrance Fee:

$5 per vehicle

Hours: Between 8am-4pm, they begin shutting down the park at 3:30pm.

When To Visit:

We visited on March 1st, 2020. This was a perfect day. We had clear blue skies, minimal snow/ice on the trail, and low crowds. We learned that due to high traffic in the Spring & Summer months wait times can sometimes be 30-90 minutes just to enter the park. We also heard from a woman who had tried to visit several times prior, that this weekend (last in February/first in March) was the first time she had be able to enter the park without waiting. We got lucky, and think this is really useful information.

Parking:

About a 4-mile drive past the Entrance Booth. There is plenty of parking near the campground and overflow parking. If there are wait times at the entrance it is likely due to parking lots being full.

Hiking:

There are three hikes you can do.

The first is a 1.0 mile veteran’s loop. This is relatively flat and wheelchair accessible.

The second is a 1.2 mile Cave Loop. We didn’t do this one, so I can not give much information on it. It seems to be rated as “easy”, as well.

If you want to see the Tent Rocks, you will need to do the 1.5 Mile Canyon Trail (3 Miles Out & Back). Note that this trail has a steep climb to the view point. We saw many turning back early. The extra effort is WELL worth the view. The canyon has been known to flash flood, so be cautious of weather in the area. Click here for a map of the trails / area.

View Points:

The first view point, of the Tent Rocks, is not quite the full 1.5 miles into the hike. In order to see this view point you will need to turn around, or view it on your hike back.

We recommend going all the way to the second & final view point, well worth the extra 1/4 mile hike to the top. Enjoy 360 Views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, & other ranges. On your hike back down, you will enjoy less crowded / higher-up view points of the Tent Rocks

Legend:
Small Star – Entrance Booth
Large Star – Parking
Circles = View Points on the 3 Mile “Canyon Trail”

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