Hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Tent Rocks Trailhead

This 3-mile hike with minimal elevation gain lets you explore Incredible desert hoodoos and beautiful slot canyons. Take in expansive views from the mesa top.

Hiking at Tent Rocks is a must-do for anyone in the northern New Mexico area. It's an accessible trail that gives you incredible rewards with little effort. The cone-shaped "tent rocks" are the result of erosion following a volcanic explosion 6-7 million years ago, making for some incredible and unusual hoodoo formations.

The trail starts out at a well-marked parking lot. There are restrooms and picnic tables here should you need them. There are two trails - a shorter loop that stays at the base of the rocks and a longer one-way route that will end with huge views from the mesa top over Tent Rocks and the surrounding area. To take this route, stick to your right and follow the clearly marked signs.

The trail will meander through an arroyo with beautiful old trees dotting the landscape here and there, with the canyon walls rising up above you on either side. You'll soon come to a narrowing of the trail where it twists and turns through the narrow slot canyon. Be very mindful of thunderstorms when hiking in monsoon season (mid-June to mid-September) and do not hike if there is any danger of flash floods in the slot canyon. Exiting the slot canyon the area will open up more and you'll get closer to some massive hoodoos. The trail starts to climb from here for a short while until you reach the mesa top, dotted with gnarled old juniper trees.

Take a break and enjoy the view up here before heading back the way you came. If you're heading north to Santa Fe, stop by Second Street Brewery for a great beer and green chile cheeseburger.

Getting there: From Santa Fe, take the Cochiti Pueblo Exit 264 off I-25 onto NM 16. Turn right off NM 16 onto NM 22, and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo and the National Monument. The parking lot is on your right about five miles after the fee station. Note that this is a day use only site and the gate closes at 4pm during winter and 6pm during summer.

Pack List

  • Lots of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Snacks
  • 10 essentials
  • Camera
  • Money for entrance permit at the gate ($5/vehicle)
Show More
RT Distance 3 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking


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Overall rating: 

Must Do

Tent Rocks is an amazing experience. It can be done at nearly all fitness levels. There are a few spots that are more difficult but oversll totally doable and totally worth the views at the top. I have done thid 3 times and can't eait to go back! Also, right off the exit there's a gas station if you need to get some more water or snacks. Which i do recommend! There are picnic tables around the parking area. Just remember, pack it in, pack it out!

Killer views, cool features for not too much work

Awesome hike close to downtown Santa Fe. Came here for my bachelorette weekend with 11 ladies including 3 sea-level dwellers, 2 pregnant ladies, and a bunch of Coloradans— some hard core hikers and some not. Everyone loved this trail. Unique features like slot canyons and hoodoos plus stunning views (for not that much work) made it a hit. It was fairly crowded and we waited about 20 min in the car to get into the lot but that’s to be expected on a holiday weekend around spring break. Worth the wait.

Short and Sweet

Amazing place to take pictures all the way to the top!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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