55 miles northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Located on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory. The cone-shaped “tent rock” landforms are composed of the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6–7 million years ago and left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Over time, wind and water eroded these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward-leading ravines into smooth semi-circular features. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rocks vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet. Bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink rock along the cliff faces.
“Kasha-Katuwe” means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the Native American people of the adjacent Pueblo de Cochiti. The people of the Pueblo have always considered Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks a significant place of spirituality and renewal, as well as a place in which to collect plants for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.
A 2-mile national recreation trail within the monument contains two segments that provide opportunities for birdwatching, geologic observation, plant identification, and scenic viewing. The Cave Loop Trail, 1.2 miles long, is rated as easy. The more difficult Canyon Trail is a 1.5-mile, one-way trek into a narrow canyon, past the tent rocks, and up a steep, 630-foot hill to a lookout point on the mesa top for outstanding views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, and Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.
From Albuquerque, take Interstate 25 north to the exit for Santo Domingo/ Cochiti Lake Recreation Area (Exit 259) onto State Route (SR) 22. Follow the signs on SR 22 to
Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Turn right off SR 22 at the Pueblo water tower (painted to resemble a drum) onto Tribal Route 92. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 266 and travel 5 miles on a gravel road to the monument’s
designated parking/picnic area, fee station, and trailhead.
Hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, wildlife and plant viewing, and geologic sightseeing.
Spilling from cracks and crevices on cliff faces, the vibrant green leaves and red bark of the manzanita shrub stand in sharp contrast to the muted colors of the rocks. This hardy evergreen produces a lustrous, pinkish-white flower in the spring. Other desert plants found in the area include Indian paintbrush, Apache plumes, rabbitbrush, and desert marigolds.
Depending on the season, visitors are likely to see a variety of birds. Red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, violet-green swallows, western bluebirds, and an occasional golden eagle soar above the area or use pinyon-covered terrain near the cliffs. The hollows and crags of the cliff faces provide nesting sites. The area also provides habitat for big-game and non-game animals. Elk, mule deer, and wild turkeys frequent the higher elevations with adequate ground cover and food. Coyotes, chipmunks, and ground squirrels can be found
Permits, Fees, Limitations
A per-vehicle day-use fee is charged. An annual day-use pass is available. Motorized vehicles and mountain bikes are permitted only on the access road and in designated parking areas. Pets must be kept on a leash; a fine may be assessed for non-compliance. Camping, fires, shooting, and climbing on the tent rocks are prohibited.
The parking area and facilities are accessible. The trail is not accessible to wheelchairs because of the soft volcanic tuff.
Camping and Lodging
The monument is a day-use area only. Camping, boating facilities, and RV hookups are available at the Cochiti Lake Recreation Area, located 7 miles east of the monument on SR 22.
Food and Supplies
Snacks, water, soda, sandwiches, and gas can be obtained at the convenience store located near the town of Cochiti Lake, approximately 8 miles east of the monument on SR 22.
First aid is available from the Pueblo de Cochiti staff who patrol the monument. Emergency services are available through local law enforcement and search and rescue teams. Visitors may call 911 for the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. The nearest hospitals are in Santa Fe (40 miles northeast on Interstate 25) and Albuquerque.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is open 8 a.m.–5 p.m., November 1–March 31, and 7 a.m.–7 p.m., April 1–October 31. Please respect the traditions and privacy of Pueblo de Cochiti residents. Photo-graphy, drawings, and recordings are not permitted within the Pueblo. Observe the posted speed limit to reduce dust and noise at the Pueblo.
During rainy weather and thunderstorms, flash-floods may occur in the canyon and lightning may strike the ridges. During periods of inclement weather, the access road may wash out or become impassable. Contact BLM or the Pueblo de Cochiti, (505) 465-2244, for current road conditions.
BLM - Rio Puerco Field Office
435 Montano NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Tel: (505) 761-8700