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Hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Jemez Springs, New Mexico

based on 25 reviews



3 miles

Route Type



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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Hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Reviews

This is an amazing hike that will give you some spectacular views near Santa Fe, the trail isn't too long so you can easily bust it out in half a day and on to your next adventure. One thing to definitely consider is the heat. The New Mexico sun can really heat up the area in the summer and I would suggest doing this early in the morning or in the shoulder months. Otherwise, it's definitely worth checking out!

I was surprised how many people we saw at 4pm on a Thursday on this trail. Lots of parents with kids coming out of the slot canyon as well. Great views from the top for sure! We also completed the cave loop after coming down out of the canyon. Great afternoon!

DON'T BRING YOUR DOG. Dogs aren't allowed and unfortunately we took ours the first time we tried to go. We went back, a week later and it was well worth the trip! The rock formations are amazing and seeing the cave where people once lived gives you the ability to transport back in time to what life must have been like. By far the best part is the longer hike to the top. Hiking through the rock formations and climbing 600ft in elevation is well worth the look out on top. Great day trip!

It was awesome with snow on the ground and crystal blue skies. No crowds in January.

Went to Santa Fe for the first time over Memorial Weekend, 2015 and we were looking for somewhere to hike. Found this and had no idea there was such a sweet place nearby for a day hike. The scenery is incredible and really unique - love the slot canyons. It was very crowded when we went. One of the most crowded hikes I had done in a long time. Maybe avoid holiday weekends.

Great day trip if you're not used to Santa Fe's high altitude. It's lovely in the colder months, too—just be careful of ice on the way up to the mesa.

Leave No Trace

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


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