21 June, 2020

New Mexico - Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

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In our 4 day - New Mexico Road trip, Kasha Katuwe Tent rocks were a highlight of the trip. Kasha-Katuwe which means white cliffs got the status of National Monument in 2001. 

The unique cone-shaped rocks formed by the layers of volcanic ash and rocks by pyroclastic flow from the volcano of Jemez springs are beautiful to watch/hike. This eruption that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago caused the slot canyon and tent rocks. 

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Kasha - Katuwe Tent rocks National Monument, New Mexico

Read our previous travelogues of New Mexico trip - 

Day 1 - White Sands National Park
Day 2 - Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Day 3 - Roswell and Bandelier National Monument

Know before you go!

Kasha-Katuwe tent rocks national monument is open all days (8 AM to 4PM) and can be reached from Santa fe through exit 264 off I-25 and through NM-16 onto NM -22. There are directions and signboards throughout the route. The entry is $5 per vehicle.

The parking is limited, so it's better to reach early. Restrooms are available at the starting of the trails. Bring plenty of water and carry snacks as nothing is available inside. The monument is closed to dogs excluding service animals.

Flights to Santa Fe:


There are 2 trails - Cave loop trail (1.2 miles) and Slot canyon trail (1.5 miles). You can find the kasha katuwe tent rock trail maps at the trailhead.

The cave loop trail is an easy family hike that will take us to one viewpoint to see tent rocks from nearer.

The slot canyon trail is a bit difficult but completely worth it. It goes through a narrow slot canyon gaining the elevation of steep 630 ft. It gives amazing views of tent rocks and also of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains. 

The First view from the trail 

Hiking with Kids

We hiked Slot canyon trail with kids (5 and 8-yr olds). The initial trail is flat and easy. The narrow slot canyon is beautiful with sun rays entering in between. 

We went there in early February and in many places, it is slippery with water and melting snow. The trail is neither paved nor marked properly. But, Since many people are hiking, we followed them. 

Kids enjoyed the photos in the slot canyon. Then, the trail gains some elevation and we get the first view of cone-shaped rocks from top. An amazing place to take photos. If it's not slippery, the trail might not have been difficult with kids. In summer, it might be easy.

The cone from nearer

Slot Canyon

The next part of the trail climbs up still high and some more amazing views of the tent rocks. 

Rewarding Views!

We returned from the slot canyon trail and continued through the cave loop trail. This passed through good views of canyon and rocks and then through a small cave. 


So, though a bit difficult with kids, we managed by stopping multiple times, drinking water, and having snacks on the way.

We started our return journey around noon and stopped by Cochiti lake on the way. We also bought some souvenirs at the Cochiti pueblo gift shop and information center near the dam.

Cochiti lake

We started back to Colorado Springs after that and reached by the night. You can read my previous travelogue on Santa Fe. It's a beautiful town and a must-visit. Since we already visited Santa Fe, we didn't stop again. 

We passed through an 1852 style restaurant on the way back. That was awesome!

How did you like our New Mexico Travelogue? Do let me know in the comments.

Check this interactive map to book accommodation in Santa Fe:

Until next time,

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New Mexico - Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument


  1. What great memories you are creating for your children.
    The Kasha-Katuwe was awe-inspiring!

  2. Wow, those rocks are awesome! Such stunning landscapes and rock forms!

  3. Those tent rocks were simply fascinating to watch, Ramya! Wow! What a sight it must be!

  4. We enjoy finding new hike and visiting National Monuments. We have not been here before. Looking forward to visiting the slot canyon.


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