Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks and Slot Canyon

View of the trail and tent rocks from the slot canyon
This hike gives you a chance to see the unique geologic formation known as tent rocks. If you do this hike, you also go through a slot canyon and up onto the mesa, leading to great views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains.

Hike data:

Controlling agency: Bureau of Land Management; Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Official URL:BLM Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Region: North-central; Jemez Mountains.
start: 5731ft; 1747m end: 6299ft; 1920m
min: 5731ft; 1747m max: 6299ft; 1920m
elevation gain/loss: 570ft; 174m.
Length: 2.49mi; 4.00km.
surface: mixed sand/gravel
condition: Excellent through the canyon, somewhat eroded and slick (due to loose gravel) for the climb to the mesa.
ease of following: Easy through the canyon. The trail to the mesa-top is less well-marked.
obstacles: You have to climb over a couple of rocks in the canyon.
Fee: $5.00. per vehicle.
Season: All year. Occasionally snow might be a problem in winter, but it is rarely a problem. Summer can be hot, and thunderstorms are especially dangerous if you are on the mesa top. Flash floods from storms are also a hazard for being in the canyon. Check the weather before going.
Dogs: No. Dogs are prohibited (other than service animals) due to a number of dog attacks on other visitors. There are no kennels nearby, so please leave your dog at home.
Bikes: No.
Handicapped accessible: No.
Trailhead facilities: picnic area. There was one picnic table when we last visited. trash can(s), vault toilet(s).
Hike attractions: geology, history, scenery.

When we hiked it:

Date: 2001-10-07
Time it took us: 2:15.
Usage (people/hour): 0.00. Usage not recorded. In general, usage is heavy.
Cleanliness: 9.


Waypoint Type Description
TRNMCVCave entranceShelter cave at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks and Slot Canyon hike
TRNMTrailheadKasha Katuwe Tent Rocks and Slot Canyon trailhead
TRNMXTrail pointEnd of trail on mesa top at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks and Slot Canyon
TRNMY1Trail junctionTrail junction at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks and Slot Canyon


Geohack online map list

Paper maps:

Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Albuquerque New Mexico USGS 1983 1:100000 Y from sar.lanl.gov (free)
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N Arizona Strip Interpretive Association (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Kirt Kempter and Dick Huelster 2009 1:3598 Y Public Lands Information Center (purchase) This map is full of additional information about the geology of the area, including a geologic map.
Los Alamos BLM 2003 1:100000 Y Public Lands Information Center (purchase)
Santa Fe National Forest US Forest Service 2004 1:126720 N From the National Forest Store (purchase) West half
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the trailhead:

Exit I-25 at the NM 22 exit (Cochiti Lake), and head northwest. 0.75 mi after you cross the Rio Grande, turn left (southwest) on NM 22 toward Cochiti Pueblo. Go 1.7 miles and turn right on Tribal Route 92 (connects to Forest Service Road 266). The turn is easy to see, because of the large water tank painted like a drum.

The road is (or turns to) dirt, and you go 4.8 miles (but you see the monument entrance sign after only 0.5 mile). The parking area and trailhead are on the right.

No short text

About the hike:

Michael Wester at the trailhead

Heading out from the trailhead, the wide, sandy trail forks almost immediately. We took the canyon trail first, and returned through the tent rocks and cave loop.

Our friend Michael Wester is the person in the photo looking at the trailhead information sign.

We hiked past this unique ponderosa long before this area was a national monument. You go past it as you head uphill toward the cliff base.

A little past the Y-branched ponderosa you meet the tent rocks and cave loop again (GPS TRNMY1).

Ponderosa with a branched trunk
Michael Wester at the entrance to the canyon
Just past TRNMY1 is the canyon entrance. In the photo, Michael Wester is walking out of the canyon.
As you walk through the canyon, it varies from being just shoulder-width to being a bit wider.
Michael Wester in the canyon
Tent rocks

When you get out of the narrow part of the canyon, look up and to your left to the mesa top. This is where the trail will end, and you will be looking down on where you are now in a few minutes.

When you get to the back of the canyon, the trail heads up the side of the canyon. You can see some of the tent rocks for which this area was named.

As you climb up the back of the canyon, you can look down on the tent rocks, and see the layers.
Tent rocks and the strata
View from the mesa top with Cochiti Lake in the background
The views from up on the mesa top are great. Notice Cochiti Lake in the distance.
When you get to the mesa top, a trail leads down to the tip of the mesa. Along the way, you can look down into the canyon.
View from the mesa top into the canyon
View from the mesa top of the beginning of the trail
At the end, you can see the trail that you took to get to the canyon.
Along the way, we saw this guy (gal? I don't know how to sex spiders :-) hiking also. No need to be afraid. It would not bother you unless you bothered it.
Tarantula on the trail
Lizard on the trail
Another critter we shared the trail with was this lizard.
Return the way you got here to the cave loop (GPS TRNMY1). This time, take the loop, which goes past this shelter cave, and takes you close to some of the tent rocks. before returning to near the trailhead.
A small shelter cave on the cave loop

Plants we saw along the trail:

Reader comments about this hike:

On Mon Aug 30 09:11:03 2004 Tracy from Albuquerque said:
The trailhead now has plenty of covered picnic tables and very clean bathrooms. The whole area is fabulous!

The hike is very easy and children shouldnt have a problem leading the way or keeping up. We had two four year old boys who hiked both trails without any problems.

I recommend this hike to anyone and everyone who wants to get out of the city and have fun.

On Sun Apr 24 18:09:27 2005 nilck and lynda from abq nm and SoCalif. said:
Incredible and unique!! Been around much of the USA and Canada and never seen any formations like these. Outstanding and very easy to do.

On Sun Jun 5 06:20:55 2005 Karen from PA said:
I hiked this two years ago; it remains a favortie of my coast to coast hiking sites. While on the rim, a thunderstorm threatened. We had metal trekking poles and ran til our hearts felt like bursting to get down into the canyon. Catching our breath under a rock lodged in the slot, we fumbled for our raingear. Looking around the corner, I saw a flash flood rising. Again, we ran, the water rushing high above our boots. It was awesome and frightening. When the canyon finally widened, the water spread out, and we laughed crazily that we had made it out ALIVE. We were soaked, covered with rock particles--looking like cement people--blending into the bizzare geology quite nicely!

On Mon Oct 10 08:22:12 2005 Stacey from Somewhere said:
Just Beautiful! The hike was just challenging enough. We took a picnic to the top enjoyed views of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountains. The scenery made me realize why I moved to New Mexico.

On Tue Oct 11 09:17:17 2005 Jessica Simpson from Somewhere said:
It was so dirty there it wasnt even funny! the tent rocks are ok but damn its dirty.

On Tue Oct 11 11:31:48 2005 the ExploreNM Webmaster from Albuquerque replied:
I checked with a friend who hiked this trail on September 18, 2005, and he did not notice any cleanliness issues at that time. I will try to get out there to check on this.

On Mon Oct 24 08:56:59 2005 kris from kristen_pedro2009yahoo.com said:
tent rocks was the best hike I've been too! because i maybe the exercise... it was hard going to the top. but i would like to go again with my class

On Mon Oct 24 15:07:08 2005 Marjorie Leekya from somewhere said:
i just wanted to know what the geological name for the tent rocks is because i am having a hard time finding that in your website

Later, the webmaster replied:
I asked a geologist, and she said: "these don't have a specific geological name. They are like hoodoos, but not quite. They are erosional features."

On Tue Oct 25 19:10:03 2005 Michael Sattell from somewhere said:
This is one of our favorite family hikes. I will be returning this weekend. Very easy yet beautiful trails. The tent rocks are amazing sturctures; I noticed less eroded forms at Bandelier afterwards (Bandelier is in the same vicinity).

On Mon Feb 13 11:36:34 2006 Anonymous from ABQ,NM said:
We have hiked this trail many times and it is a favorite, especially with our kids. On one of the more memorable hikes we reached the top and saw thunderclouds coming straight at us. We tried to hurry down, but about halfway back the storm hit. There wasn't any lightning, but there was a tremendous amount of hail. It was incredibly cool watching "waterfalls" of hail coming down into the canyon. By the end of the storm the entire canyon bottom was covered with hail, and the bottoms of these "waterfalls" had a foot or more of accumulated ice pellets. We were soaked, and a bit nervous, but it was an incredible experience.

On Thu Jul 6 23:14:21 2006, Dave Posey from Clovis, NM said:
We did this hike on Dec. 29, 2005. It is one of our favorites. I did find something along the hike that isn't really rare but you don't see it very often. We found a Manzanita bush at the top of the hike. Manzanita was used by indians for medecinal purposes, and they also used dried leaves for smoking. Interesting.

On Tue Apr 24 23:41:09 2007 Glenn from prospect Hts., il said:
Yet another wonderful New Mexico treat to put someplace on my ever changing top ten places I would love to show someone in this most beautiful and bizarre State. Here and the Bisti always seem to remain near the top.

btw thanks to the people responsible for this site. Found it surfing around

On Thu May 17 09:52:46 2007 Stama from Tennessee said:
We hiked most of this trail on May 11, 2007. We came in late and it so we could only do some of the hike. It was very clean. I loved this area and highly recommend it. We were in the 4 corners area for a week -- second trip in 10 years.

Has anyone seen the snake and wavy line petraglyphs that are near the beginning of the canyon trail? I asked the "ranger" and he said he never noticed them as a kid. I wondered if anyone knows the story about these?


On Tue Oct 2 15:50:07 2007 Mike S from Austin, TX said:
Hiked the canyon on Monday, Oct 1, 2007 at about 1 PM with my wife / brother / sister in law. Was truly one of the most scenic and interesting places I've been. The parking / bathrooms / picnic table areas were very clean as was the trail.

Hike up and back took us about 2 hrs but that was rushing it because we had to catch a flight back home. We would have loved to have taken a LOT more time there but at least we have something to look forward to because we will be back!

On Mon Jan 21 01:53:38 2008 Bob from Kentucky said:
We will be vactioning is Santa Fe this June and might like to hike this area. We are not trained hikers and was wondering how hard this hike is? What gear is a must and what attire should we ware? How long is the hike and what will the weather be like?

Also any other destionations that might be of intreast for a family?

Thanks, Bob

On Mon Jan 21 13:01:06 2008 The Webmaster from Albuquerque, NM said:
I do not put difficulty ratings on hikes because what is difficult for one person might be trivial for another. For this hike, you probably only need good shoes and clothes appropriate for the weather when you arrive. If you do not climb to the mesa top, most people would consider this an easy hike. As for gear, you need water and sun screen. A hat is probably a good idea as well. Details about the hike length and times are at the top of the page.

Bob, you should use the suggestion form for your question; I normally reply personally to questions like this. However, since you did not leave your email address, I cannot respond to you.

On Fri Apr 25 15:32:57 2008 C.S. from Germany said:
We had a very fast hike onto the top in May 2007. The tent rocks are really very special! We were lucky to be there all alone, so nothing disturbed the majestic silcence and the fantastic landscape around.

Great place to see again!

On Wed Apr 30 11:09:21 2008 Mark Cohen from Takoma Park, Maryland said:
We enjoyed our visit tremendously, but had an unfortunate experience at the end that we wanted to warn folks about. We only had a very short time to visit, and arrived only a few hours before the 7 PM closing time. We paid our $5 dollars, talked to the gate attendant about potential hikes, were told that the park closed at 7 PM, and to watch our time. Well, we did the whole hike and got back to our car at around 6:55, and unfortunately arrived back at the gate at about 7:05 (there is a ~4 mile dirt road to the gate). When we arrived, we found the gate locked with no way to get our car out! We called the numbers on the gate, eventually got to talk with some one, and they eventually came out to open the gate. It was a very disappointing experience for everyone involved. It was shocking to us that we were not told the "GATE CLOSES at 7 PM" by the gate attendant when we arrived, or that this fact was not displayed prominently. We meant no disrespect, and if we had simply been told what would happen, we would have definitely made it back before 7 PM. The person who came to unlock the gate was very upset... The whole interaction ruined the visit for us, but could have easily been avoided.

On Thu May 15 20:08:00 2008 Russ from El Paso, TX said:
Phenomenal! I'm constantly amazed by the beauty of the southwest. Bring a boonie cap or a good hat to cover your neck as you hike, bring water in something you can attach to your body as you climb (especially near the top), and come early to enjoy this hike. Also, if it is supposed to be windy watch out...the sand stings!

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

On Sat May 24 20:33:52 2008 Penny of NC from North Carolina said:
We visited NM for the first time May 17, 2008 and ended up hiking Tent Rock, we were in TOTAL AWE, I love nature and what it has to offer, my eyes were just amazed at what we saw, it's one of those "OMG, can you belive this place" we loved it and if I ever get back to NM, I would do it again, and I found the hike moderatley easy, with some light climbs. BEST location west of the Mississippi.

On Mon Jun 2 08:08:06 2008 robin from Albuquerque said:
We (family of 3) visited on June 1st, 2008. Wow! It was even more fabulous than we had expected. The slot canyon was fun and gorgeous. We took both video and still photos and we were all amazed at the beauty. The tents are so bizaar and interesting and the view from the trail leading to the top is fantastic! Take a camera and lots of water! It was very sunny and hot when we visited. It took us 2 hours to do both trails (stopping often for photos). Creatures spotted: rabbits, squirrels, several types of lizards, roadrunner, and a large owl. Most of the hiking is easy but there are some areas in the climbing ascent to the top which may be difficult for some people. Overall it was our favorite hike we have ever done in NM.

Do get there early though, especially on weekends. We arrived at 9am and there were already 2 other cars in the parking lot. At 11am when we left, the parking lot was full and people were circling waiting for a spot. There is a $5 per car parking fee, clean restrooms, and lots of picnic tables. Very nice, well maintained trails.

On Sat Jul 12 14:48:44 2008 Alan from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada said:
Tent Rocks is one of the most spectacular and amazing places you'll get to see in North America. Why it's not better known than it is is a mystery to me. Anyone who's either in or anywhere remotely close to Santa Fe should really make time to go there. It will certainly be well worth the time and effort. For anyone who does any mountain hiking, the trek to the top of Tent Rocks will seem quick and easy. The grades are relatively gradual, and the total distance is short. In response to the person who claimed Tent Rocks is "dirty," I think she was misinformed about exactly where she was, because she certainly couldn't have been in Tent Rocks National Monument. It's spotless everywhere. Dirt? Does she mean the dust that's bound to lie on the trail? What does she expect? But dirty? Not a chance. Don't be misled by that ridiculous comment.

On Thu Jul 31 16:47:27 2008 Gloria from Somewhere said:
This site is most informative - thank you.

A note to your readers: If you loved the formations at Tent Rocks, and you have a travel bug, you must visit Cappadocia in Turkey. Look this up on the web and you will be amazed...and blown away in person.

On Sun Aug 24 23:51:02 2008 Anonymous from Milwaukee, WI said:
Just got back from hiking this awesome trail. Well worth every drop of sweat!

A few things have changed since the original review and other comments.

The trail head now has paved pathways and the area around the sign in the picture with the reviewer's friend is now paved.

For some reason, the people in charge there(who IS in charge anyway? It seems to be a National Monument, but it is administered by the BLM, but the guys taking the money at the gate are from Pueblo de Cochiti tribe?????) insisted that we park our full size conversion van in the huge open area for bus parking even though there were multiple full size pickups at least as long parked in the regular spaces!

The hike was beautiful. I would recommend going a little bit later in the afternoon though, as the lighting was better then. It is definitely in my top five favorite hikes in the West.

The reviewer stated a time of ~2 hours. Well, I am a photographer and like to spend some time, but it took me about 5 hours without going to the cave. I would say non-stop, I could have done it in about 1.5 hours, though.

I personally would not recommend it for taking small children as the latter part of the trail is steep with some very loose gravel. I saw a woman slip and fall on her way down, very close to the edge. Also, on the Mesa top, there are some precipitous drop offs without railings that could be very hazardous for children.

One commenter stated that they got locked in after 7 PM. Well, there is now a one-way spike strip in place, so you shouldn't have a problem exiting after 7 PM, but I would ask to be sure.

I would definitely do this hike again and recommend it to anyone.

Thanks for the writeup as I may have never gone here without having found and read it!

On Thu Oct 9 13:07:53 2008 Julie Alexander from Dallas, TX said:
This is a favorite hike for my husband & I. It was our first"official" hike after we decided to become hikers. We have only hiked it in the winter (late Dec.) and even if the weather is cold, you warm up quickly from the effort of the hike. We like to get there early, by 8AM to beat the crowds. The lighting is good at that time for photos as it would be in late afternoon, but less crowded. Last time we only passed 1 other hiker on the way up, but the way down got busy. This is truly a spectacular hike, the slot canyon being my favorite part.

On Wed Oct 29 20:13:34 2008 Karl from northern Indiana said:
Gorgeous hike on Oct 21, 2008. Saw a little over a dozen people during my 2.5 hour afternoon stroll and one tarantula. Took a ton of photos. Thank you to this site for steering me here.

I would change the driving directions to note that those coming from the north should exit US 25 at NM 16 (exit 264). This intersects with NM 22 (turn right).

On Tue Nov 4 09:51:27 2008 Rachel from Rio Rancho, NM said:
The Tint Rock are is a fav. for our family. For all of the obvious reasons. Beauty, fun, and the hike. However, I haven't read anything from anyone about one of the most fun parts of the hike. If you look along your path you will see it covered with black and greyish looking rocks. These are Apache Tears.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Apache tears are a kind of nodular obsidian (volcanic black glass). An Apache tear looks opaque until it is held up to light, which reveals it to be translucent. Although black is the most common color for Apache tears, they can range in color from black to red to brown.

Apache tears have rounded forms (0.5 to 5 cm). They are often found embedded in a greyish-white perlite matrix.

The name "Apache tear" comes from a legend of the Apache tribe. The stones are supposedly the tears shed by the wives and families of a band of Apache warriors who were killed by the U.S. military in retaliation for their raid on an Arizona settlement.

So, you learn something new eveyday. Next trip, look down too and you'll find a treasure of your very own. Enjoy.

Later, The Webmaster from Albuquerque, NM added:
Look and enjoy, but remember that taking the Apache tears from a national monument is illegal. Please enjoy seeing them; then leave them for the people who will follow you.

On Sun Nov 16 11:28:19 2008 Jocelyn from Chicago, IL said:
I am headed out to see the tent rocks in a couple of weeks, but wanted to know how difficult the hiking trail is? My mother is also coming to NM with me, but didnt know how "Easy" the easy trail is? She is 75 years and in good healthy condition but would not want to put her in a position to manuever around rocks or anything like that.

If anyone has any thoughts, that would be great.

On Sun Nov 16 11:41:09 2008 The Webmaster from Albuquerque, NM said:
"easy" is a relative term, which is why we try to avoid it on ExploreNM.com. What is easy for us might not be easy for someone less fit. What is a good workout for us might be easy for someone more fit than us.

The trail through the canyon is relatively flat with a few spots where you might have to scramble up some rocks. The climb up the hill to get to the mesa top is more challenging, because it is easier to loose your footing and go sliding back down hill.

I think that you should take your mother out to the canyon, because at least the initial part should be accessible to her.

On Tue Mar 3 20:57:47 2009 L Williamson from Albuquerque, NM said:
We hiked the Slot Canyon and Cave Loop last weekend. Great fun for the whole family, 4 kiddos and mini-Dachshund. The Slot Canyon trail was quite busy. I was impressed with the picnic and parking area. The gate attendant was well informed and helpful. The first area of the Slot Canyon trail is easily accessible. The climb to the top of the mesa may be difficult for some, but worth the views if you can make it. Glad to find the treasure so close to home! We'll be back!

On Thu May 21 09:00:19 2009 dhummel from Santa Fe, NM said:
Effective May 23, 2009, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is closed to dogs. For more information, please see the BLM NM website.

On Tue May 26 22:46:14 2009 JAC from Albuquerque, NM said:
Tent Rocks is one of the most interesting hikes in the Southwest. The parking area is nicely planned, and there are bathrooms. The trails are well hiked and the elderly or handicapped can enjoy the Cave Loop and see many of the tent rock formations without the challenge of the slot canyon, which has some very narrow areas as well as boulders to climb over. The lower part of the slot canyon is a beautiful twisted hike that kids will love as they go under a gigantic boulder lodged between the cliffs and under a fallen tree. The canyon walls keep the lower trail cool, and is a welcome relief if one hikes the upper, open trails atop the mesa in the sun.

Take pleanty of water, wear hiking shoes, not sandals or flip flops as it is easy to turn your ankle on the gravelly parts.

Do not hike into the slot if rain threatens! Like any arroyo, the canyon will fill quickly with flash floods of water draining from the canyon walls and tent rocks.

The canyon walls/tents are made of "tuff", the ash fallout from ancient volcanos which fell, hundreds of feet deep, and then compressed to form the semi-hard cliffs. You can see the "layers" in the cliff & tent sides and the slightly harder parts stay while the wind/water erodes the softer, less compressed areas. The softer areas are worn away and form holes or ridges in the cliff sides. There are Apache Tears, rounded black glass "beads" of various sizes that blew out with the ash tuff that can be found in the canyon walls. Look, toouch, but leave in the canyon.

This is a photographer's paradise with the myriad shapes of oddly formed "tents". Once at the top of the climb, you can look down on the peaked tents, with some having harder stone "caps" on their heads. The view is spectacular as you can see the Sangre de Cristos, the Sandias, and the Jemez Mountain ranges beyond the colorful mesas beyond the slot canyon. In the Spring (May), the upper cliff tops are sprinkled with yellows, oranges, whites, and yellow green wildflowers, bushes, & cacti flowers.

If you are a Senior Citizen, and you have a Federal Park Pass, you may show it and get in free. Otherwise, the $5.00 entrance fee is far worth it to see this spectacular gift of Nature.

On Sun Nov 22 19:36:40 2009 Catherine from Albuquerque, NM said:
This hike left me amazed that this beautiful place was tucked away here in New Mexico! I've lived in ABQ for about 10 years and just started hiking within the last year; this was a pleasant surprise.

The 3.5 mile hike (Slot Canyon and Cave Loop) took me about 2 hours, and I still had time to rest, chat with other hikers, and take pictures. The trail was busy and I would suggest getting as early a start as possible. I arrived about 10 am and passed 5 people on my way up, and 22 people on my way down. I was alone at the top, and the silence and the view were a huge bonus.

I was very worried that I would not be able to make the trek because I'm not physically fit, but I did it! There was only one part where I was worried because it required me to literally get on my knees to climb up a rock that was about 3 ft up with no step in between. The incline toward the end of the Slot Canyon hike had my heart pumping, but it was completely doable. Take your time and it's a breeze. Even if you're not in the best of shape, but work out on a fairly regular basis and hike some, the Slot Canyon hike is completely doable. Go for it!

The entrance fee was still $5, and the parking area was safe. The bathroom was clean, and the trails are well marked.

I did come across some travelers with problems: dying batteries, no water or snacks, not enough time, no camera, and poor clothing and shoe choices. So, make sure you bring extra batteries and you must have water. I did the hike today and the weather was perfect. No matter when you go, I still would suggest wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and hiking boots. The walls through Slot Canyon are shoulder-wide at some points, grainy, and have rocks jutting out. And, of course, there are at least 8 places where you're going to have to climb up and over rocks.

On Wed Apr 14 17:04:19 2010 John from San Jose, CA said:
I am not able to hike. I can walk about 50 ft or use a walker for a little longer length. Will I be able to see any of the tent rock formations from the parking lot or on the road in or out?

On Sat May 1 14:31:55 2010 Chris Davinroy from Collinsville, IL said:
To the gentleman that asked if he could see any tents because he cannot hike - very, very few..

I was down there last year and had a misfortune where I sat down to wait for a couple of hikers to exit my area so that I could take a photo and then BAM - i got hit on the head from a falling rock. Wasn't a big rock because, even though it hurt like heck, I wasn't knocked out, but i didn't want to take any chances and did not make the climb.

I was planning on going to see this place in it's entirety when i head down for Memorial Day weekend 2010, but I found out this information from this website and what it says:


Release Date: 03/30/10

Contacts: Stephen Baker , 505-954-2022(o) , 828-545-1632(c)

Tent Rocks Monument to Close for Road Paving

Albuquerque, NM – Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument will close for a six-week period between June 1 – July 31, 2010, in order to pave Tribal Road 92 / BLM 1011, the road to Tent Rocks from the Pueblo de Cochiti. The project is expected to take up to six weeks, though the road and Monument may open earlier if construction finishes sooner than expected. Minor work may continue after the Monument reopens but should pose little disruption to traffic and visitors.

The purpose of the paving is to improve the quality of the road, reduce the need to close after heavy rain and snow, and minimize the dust stirred up from the current five mile dirt road. Other alternatives, such as partial road openings, were considered, but the alternatives would have taken longer to complete or would have been more problematic. Ultimately, the BLM and Cochiti Pueblo decided to close the monument and road completely to allow for the paving in a timely manner.

During the Monument’s closure, the public is encouraged to consider alternative BLM recreational sites, many of which are within a short drive of the Monument. More information about BLM recreational sites can be found at www.blm.gov/nm.

“We’ve wanted to pave the road to Tent Rocks for some time,” said Ed Singleton, BLM Albuquerque District Manager. “The public will certainly appreciate the new road once it reopens. There will be less dust and a more enjoyable ride for visitors to the Monument.”

More information about the road and monument closure, as well as periodic updates, can be found at www.blm.gov/nm/TentRocksClosure. Once the project contract has been awarded, additional information and specific dates of closure will be announced.

On Mon May 17 14:10:52 2010 Catherine from ABQ, NM said:
Visited Tent Rocks again and still loved it! This time I got there in the afternoon and didn't get out until well past 7:30 pm - but thank goodness they had a gate open that I was able to leave through (it has the backward spikes allowing you to leave, but not to enter).

Because I was with others who weren't used to hiking, we spent about 4.5 hours there just getting up and back. Longer than I anticipated, but well worth it. We were the last people coming down the trail and it was quiet and peaceful.

Don't forget your sunscreen, water, hiking snacks, camera and extra batteries, and a pair of binoculars!

On Sun Oct 24 02:15:41 2010 Nancy from Santa Fe said:
Visited Tent Rocks for the first time 10/23/10...this is an unbelievably amazing place! Easy to get to, beautiful surroundings, and totally fun to hike. The Slot Canyon is so unique; scrambling up & down is part of the adventure. Such views at the top of the mesa that it's almost hard to take it all in. Don't forget your camera!

ps: well maintained trail, park, facilities & paved road

On Thu May 19 10:36:49 2011 Gordon from Albuquerque said:
I have hiked here at least once a year for over 30 years. My kids grew up hiking this trail beginning when my daughter was 5. It is an excellent adventure for famalies and kids of all ages. Someone wrote that it is not good for young kids, being a teacher I have brought many children here from 1st grade up and never had a problem. Additionally, the trail out of the canyon to the mesa top has been improved over the years. It should be easy for any healthy active child. Through the years the park has just gotten better and better. It is clean, well maintained and just a blast any time of year!

On Thu Oct 13 16:14:15 2011 Sally B. from Placitas, New Mexico said:
I've lived in this state for almost 30 years, and I just hiked Tent Rocks today for the first time! What have I been waiting for? It was a perfect, warm October fall day, not a cloud in the sky, and our friend, a Cochiti resident, was a great guide. The formations, canyons, mesas and views were surreal and beautiful. A bit of a rugged hike, but easily doable in about an hour. This would be a great place to take out of town guests who enjoy the outdoors and want to get out of town and into the desert.

On Mon Nov 21 00:49:09 2011 Jeffrey from Somewhere said:
This is not a hike for the out of shape or heart patient! I barefly made it to the top with my last ounce of strrengnth and willpower and parts of the final climb are quite dangerous. This is no theme park but raw nature. Do NOT take it lightly. Children and older people will NOT make this climb easily or without help. Seriously. Im 66.

On Mon Jan 16 20:12:58 2012 Trish from Columbus, Ohio said:
I hiked both trails on a cold morning, January 11, 2012. The cave loop trail was a pleasant walk in the sun. The canyon trail was icy in the shade, and this trail is mostly shade! The folks with hiking poles and crampons probably had an easy time of it, but I had to use extraordinary caution, even though my approach shoes have excellent traction. When I reached the mesa top, I was glad to feel the sun again, and the views are incomparable! I sat on a rock, ate my trail mix, and enjoyed the scenery. The trip down was even more hazardous, but I only slipped a few inches once, occasionally hanging on to rocks and branches for support and taking my time. Even in these conditions, I saw about 18 people that morning. I'm 62 but in reasonably good shape and loved every minute of this hike.

On Thu Jan 19 17:24:30 2012 Hans from Germany said:
Did the hike today 1-19-2012 on a sunny and mild winter day and it was as described, fantastic. Although there is plenty of snow and ice in the canyon, the fallen sand from the walls allows for easy walking.

P.S. the road to the parking lot at the trail head is now

paved all the way through. :))

On Mon Jan 23 11:42:14 2012 Chris and Rhoda from Albuquerque said:
We hiked the Slot Canyon and Cave Loop trails on Saturday 1/21/12. The slot canyon was deep with snow in several spots, but covered with sand so traction was generally not a problem. But when we reached the steep climb to the mesa, it was so slippery with ice that we turned back before reaching the top. Still, a beautiful hike, shared with many other hikers of all ages.

The road to the Veterans Overlook was closed. Is it ever open? Would love to explore more of this area.

On Sat May 26 22:11:49 2012 Bev and Bob from Edmonton, Alberta. Canada said:
Highly recommend this hike through the canyon to the tent rocks that are not visable from the parking lot. If you take the walk to the cave and think you've seen them, then you are missing a real treat! The canyon walk just gets better and better as you go. We went all the way to the Mesa, but if you don't want or unable to go that far, try to go at least 1/2 way up to the Mesa as the view of the tent rocks from a higher elevation is out of this world! Can't stress enough the need to take lots of water with you. I would recommend at least a liter and a half. And a snack - granola bar, trail mix, etc. The temperature today was 90 degrees so hats and sunscreen are a must. We had alot of wind with blowing sand - we were very gritty by the end of our three hour hike! May want to take a bandana along in case of high winds to keep the grit out of your teeth! Lots of sand in the eyes today despite sunglasses. ? Goggles? The hike itself does not take three hours but we stopped frequently for photographs. All in all, a great day!

On Fri Jun 1 11:52:23 2012 Jane from West Bloomfield, MI said:
I did the hike to the top with my husband and 8 1/2 year old twins on May 29, 2012. It was amazingly beautiful. The entire loop, including the cave loop, took us 2 1/4 hours (including sitting at the top to admire the view, eat some nuts and berries and try to quell my fears of tumbling to our deaths). According to an app I used, the total distance was 3.68 miles. The hike itself was not exceptionally difficult, although I would advise going in the morning as I imagine it could get quite hot. However, having a fear of heights and being with two children, it did seem a bit treacherous - I can't help but wonder if anyone has fallen to their death. I did a google search with no results :). Not to be missed, but not for the faint of heart. Makes climbing the ladders at Bandolier seem like a piece of cake.

On Tue Jul 3 16:03:56 2012 Net, Lucas, Jon & Alex from Rio Rancho, New Mexico said:
We went to Tent Rocks on June 30, 2012. If your not paying attention to the road you WILL miss the exit to Tent Rocks. If you pass Cohiti Dam you've PASSED the exit, just heads up on that one.

But, if and when you get there it is a wonderful hike with many opportumities for pictures. I took my 2 boys (9 & 10) with the neighbor friend (9) with me and always had a question going on about the colors, the canyon, the weather the sites etc.. they obviously LOVED it.

On Thu Apr 11 10:32:33 2013 Donika from Albuquerque NM said:
On April 7th 2013 i went on this hike with a 4 year old,and my 69 year old father.We all made it relatively easy. Did the long hike through the canyon and to the top. Absolutely spectacular!Reminded me of Moab.The canyon formations are just simply amazing and no picture does it justice. This is a must do. Took less than an hour to get to the parking lot from Rio Rancho.My daughter was thrilled beyond belief. I will definetely be back,even for a short day trip.

On Fri Sep 12 17:45:36 2014 daniel and heidi from Piermont NY said:
Update September 12 2014: Superb hike, magnificent scenery and formations.

The road to the trailhead is paved and smooth, there's ample parking, and the bathrooms and grounds are clean.

Thanks to ExploreNM for facilitating a great morning!

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