Jemez Springs, New Mexico

Hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

3 Miles Total - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Gemina Garland-Lewis

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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Tags

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic

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Incredible View!

My husband and I are in Albuquerque. It was definitely worth the drive out. Its good for beginners, the rocks are absolutely gorgeous and it was a lot of fun climbing through the narrow formations. No dogs allowed though

Stunning Hidden Get

How it took me so long to get over to this haven perched in between Albuquerque and Santa Fe I have no idea. Beautiful slot canyons, the crazy looking hoodoos, and the wide open mesas all come together a beautiful outing. It's not long, but it does have a short section of steep hiking, enough to get your heart rate up at least a little. Be ready for the $5 entry fee and they close the top climb much earlier then the park closing time. Great day trip that's not actually as far from either city as you would think.

Intriguing landscape

This was definitely a beautiful place and the view from the top of the Mesa was stunning. I'm subtracting 1-star for not being open for sunrise or sunset, eliminating my chances for a shot with great lighting.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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