Hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

3 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by The Outbound Collective

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.

This adventure was featured in The Outbound's Santa Fe County is Adventure True - Summer Lookbook 2019

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Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic

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slot canyons

I've been driving between Durango and Albuquerque for years, and had heard great things about this hike. I finally detoured for it and it was worth the hype - the tent rocks are stunners but my favorite section of the trail was the slot canyon

Breathtaking views! Unlike anything

I went on a weekday, and wasn’t too busy. Apparently it gets to be a two hour wait just to park, so plan accordingly! Such unique formations, truly unlike anything I’ve seen before. Felt like I was teleported to another planet. Sweeping views at the summit of the entire surrounding area are worth the climb.

Gorgeous

Easy hike and a fun run if you need a challenge! Beautiful natural rock monuments. Locals leave zen rock stacks or cairns as they hike up and down the trail.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Beautiful Slot Canyons

This 3-mile hike with minimal elevation gain let me explore an incredible desert landscape and beautiful slot canyons. I took in expansive views from the mesa top.

Beautiful Tent Rocks

This was such a beautiful hike, definitely doable at any level. Pro Tip: bring at least 72 ounces of water with you on this 3 mile hike. Hiking in the heat catches up to you, but so worth it.

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