Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a mouthful of a name! The monument is really more a park with a few hiking trails , an off-road drive, and a lot of cool cone-shaped rocks.
Near the Cochiti Reservation, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is an hour drive from Santa Fe sort of on the way to Albuquerque. We made Kasha Katuwe our last hurrah in New Mexico nature as we are flying out of Albuquerque bringing an end to our mother-daughter New Mexico roadtrip
For some reason Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is classified differently than Bandelier National Monument by the Department of the Interior so we were unable to get in for free during National Park Week. But really, a small entrance fee is worth a morning hike here.
The cool cone-shaped rocks here were formed by volcanic eruptions plus erosion. The rocks are both igneous rock (from the volcano) and sedimentary rock which gives the rocks a layered look.
The Cave Loop Trail is a very easy 1.2 mile loop that gives a good overview of the area. You can climb up to the top of the cliffs (a 630 ft. incline) on the 1.5 mile Canyon Trail. Spend some time walking around here it was a gorgeous little hike.
But stay on the trail! Snakes! Eek!
The second part of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is a 3.5 mile drive on a bumpy, non-paved road that takes you to Veterans Memorial Overlook. This would have been nice to see but right when we started the drive (in our rental car- big no no!), Mom and I came across a stream covering the road and just said no. Other SUVs and trucks were doing it but we opted out.
There are had been a lot of rain in New Mexico (it was the end of rainy season) so when you go you may easily be able to do the drive in your SUV or truck- I would not drive a car on that road.
No matter what you decide, include Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and it’s little hikes on your New Mexico itinerary. It is well worth spending 2 hours hiking, taking photos, and enjoying the rocks formations for your inner-geology nerd.
We are off to Albuquerque for our last day in New Mexico.
Reader question: Snakes- are they all scary or just the poisonous ones? Are you a geology nerd?