"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hiking in a Slot Canyon at Tent Rocks

Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico
Lake Cochiti Campground

If you read our last blogpost, you know that we re-routed our trip back to Arizona so that we could stop in this area to hike the slot canyon Ingrid told me about.  It is a magical place. Thanks Ingird!

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is managed by the BLM and is about 40 miles SW of Santa Fe, NM.  Kasha-Katuwe means "white cliffs".  The area is made up of layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited from a volcanic explosion that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. Over time, weathering and erosion of the layers created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks, and vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.


The trail begins at the monument parking area. The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long and is easy. The more difficult Canyon Trail is a 3 mile round trip trek into a narrow canyon with a steep (630-ft) climb to the mesa top for excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley below.

Starting the trail. It's hard to imagine what's to come from here.

As you get close to the slot canyon portion of the trail, it's surprising to see these pine trees in the desert landscape.

Starting to enter the slot portion of the trail.

The walls get taller and much more narrow.

This is probably the narrowest part.

The colors of the cliff sides are just beautiful.  Ghost trees strangely balanced in the canyon.


You can see the dark caprocks that balance on top.

We had some crazy weather while on this hike.  Half the sky was very dark and if you looked the other way, sunny.

Looking straight up there was this pretty colored aura around the sun.

Now were getting to the steep part.  After the steps is a little bit of rock scrambling to continue on.

Good view of the different layers of rock.
View from the top of the canyon floor and tent rocks below.

And amazing 360 degree view from the top.

Steve and I having a little snack and enjoying the tent rocks.

Time to head back down.

Back through the slot canyon.

Crazy roots on this living pine.

We also took the side hike to the Cave Loop to make the hike 4.2 miles.

The black part on the ceiling is from fires.

It was fun to walk around these "tents" just sitting below the canyon.  How strange it must've been to come across these out in the middle of no where?

Sentinels on top of the ridge.

We also did the Veterans Memorial Trail which added another mile to todays outing. Gorgeous view again from this vantage point.

What a great place to see!  Being full time on the road allows us more time in areas we might have skipped over before.  We really like the lesser visited areas.  While there were very few people here, our next outing has us surrounded by many more people and lots of balloons! 
Guess where we'll be?


  1. Hope to see these on our way to AZ next winter. Thanks for sharing, really enjoyed seeing this again after Ingrid's posting of them.

  2. Very cool, I want to go there! Was this a day trip from your camp at Cochiti? Any camping there?

    1. The monument is about 10 minutes away from the campground at Cochiti. No camping at the monument itself.

  3. Thanks for taking me back... love that place!

  4. I am so looking forward to seeing this place. Several bloggers have been there. NM just doesn't get into our travels but hopefully next fall it will:) So many gorgeous photos!!! Loved this post:)

  5. That place looks incredible. I'll definitely put it on my 'must visit' list! Great photos too :-) Was Hurley along for this trip? I'm always curious if dogs are allowed in places.

    1. Most, if not all, National Parks do not allow dogs at all. Some have outdoor kennels that you can put them in.

  6. You really captured some beautiful shots on this trail. I especially like the tent rocks against the cloudy skies. Those ghost trees are very eery - I can imagine them dancing when no one's there :-)

    1. The sky was amazing. It was like a strange 1/2 and 1/2. I did love the clouds!


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