The Pueblo de Cochiti refer to these geological formations as the Kasha Katuwe or White Cliffs. Now commonly called the Tent Rocks. The cone shape rocks are the result of volcanic eruptions some 6-7 million years ago, but who’s counting. These eruptions left pumices and ash deposits up to 1000 feet thick. Wind and erosion not only created these conical shapes but also the slot canyons below.
This national monument is a sight to behold and an easy trek from Santa Fe or Albuquerque. Here are a few tips that will help make your trip even more memorable.
Craig’s Destination Tips.
- Getting there. Take I-25 North from Albuquerque or I-25 South from Santa Fe. Take exit 259 and follow signs to the Cochiti Pueblo.
- GET THERE EARLY – The park opens at 8:00. Be there before then. The place gets crowded fast. I arrive at 7:45 and drive right in. I am the 3rd car in. 2 hours later and the place is packed and there is a 90-minute line to get in.
- No pets are allowed in the Monument area, I’d be hesitant to take a stroller or walker if going to the top.
- Wear good hiking footwear. There are rocks to scramble over and loose silt. You’ll be glad you did. The closer to the summit you get the steeper it gets. A couple of areas may require the use of hand holds.
- Pack water, there is nothing potable at the monument.
- Because it’s an out and back trail (1.5 miles each way), do the Slot Canyon trail first, this will keep you ahead of the crowds. You’ll be a trout swimming upstream against the people coming in that weren’t savvy like you and got there early.
- Be sure to look behind you, on the way up and down. The sun will be rising and the shadows everchanging.
- Don’t forget the Cave Loop. It adds about .7 mile to the hike. Not as spectacular as the Slot Canyon but, while you’re there.
- Be mindful of rattlesnakes. Hot days they lay in shade, cool days they sun on rocks.
- Find your favorite photo and amaze your friends, Instagram me your favorite photos @curious.craig