Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a visual treat where you can experience the geologic processes that result in natural landscapes. The Monument, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is located on the Pajarito Plateau north of Albuquerque in New Mexico and includes a national recreation trail where you can walk among the unique rock formations at an elevation ranging from 5,570 feet (1,697 meters) to 6,760 feet (2,060 meters) above sea level.
The tent rock formations are cone-shaped and are the result of volcanic eruptions from 6 to 7 million years ago. These eruptions left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits. On top of many of the hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff located below. As you explore the Monument, you will be able to view tent rock formations in a variety of heights, from several feet up to 90 feet (27 meters). Dogs are not allowed at the Monument.
You will find plenty to do at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and its surrounding area. As you walk among the natural rock formations, keep your eyes out for plants native to the area and birds that make their home there. And of course, don’t forget your camera-the vibrant colored formations are always popular to photograph!
From Albuquerque, take I-25 N to exit 259 for NM-22 N toward Santo Domingo Pueblo. Turn left on NM-22, which is a well-maintained paved road that is wide and relatively straight. Continue for 12.2 miles (19.6 km). Next, turn left on NM-22/Rte 85 and proceed for 1.7 miles (2.7 km) on the paved road until reaching Indian Service Rte 92. Make a right on Indian Service Rte 92, which is paved and straight and drive for 4.7 miles (7.6 km) to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
Roads to the Monument are well-maintained and the route is well marked. The vegetation in these parts is mostly scrub, so you won't need to worry about overhanging branches. But much of the surrounding countryside is open rangeland, so go slow over cattle grids and watch out for livestock.
In these desert surroundings, you shouldn't expect much rain, but the area is prone to flash floods that can wash out the single road to the park, so make sure to check ahead before traveling. Also, heavy snow sometimes closes parts of the monument in the winter, so be prepared when traveling at this time of year.
Parking is available at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
Public transportation is not available to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
The Cochiti Recreation Area is located within the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation and includes a campground with four loops. Just minutes from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, the campground is a great option for a base from which to venture. Sites with electric and water hook-ups are available, as well as sites with electric only and those without hook-ups. Water is available at the campground, as well as showers and restrooms and a boat launch makes it easy to get into the lake for some fun. Sites include a grill, a fire ring and picnic table.
Less than an hour from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is Coronado Campground, which is located just west of the town of Bernalillo off of highway 550. The campground is situated along the Rio Grande, allowing for views of the river as well as the Sandia Mountains located to the east. The Coronado Campground offers sites for tents, trailers and hook-ups (water and electric) are available. The campground includes toilets and showers, making it a great option for those looking for a place to relax after a day of adventure.
Juniper Family Campground is located near the entrance of Bandelier National Monument, about an hour and a half from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Individual sites within the campground are first come, first served, while reservations are accepted for two small group sites that can accommodate 10-20 people.
The campground includes restrooms with running water and a dump station can be found on the road to the campground. While there are no hook-ups at the campground, each site has a picnic table and a grill and RV’s and trailers of up to 40 feet can be accommodated.
There are several options for hiking when visiting Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. There is a national recreation trail with two segments, both starting at the parking area of the Monument. At 1.2 miles long, there is the Cave Loop Trail, which is considered easy. There is also the Canyon Trail, which is 1.5 miles in length (one way) and takes you through a narrow canyon to a steep climb where you can take in amazing views. There is also the Veterans Memorial Trail, which is a one-mile loop that is wheelchair accessible.
Not far from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is Cochiti Lake, which has no wake and includes a swim beach, boat launch, and fishing dock. The lake is a popular place for sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing. The lake has two public recreation areas; the Cochiti Recreation Area on the west side of the lake and the Tetilla Peak Recreation Area on the lake’s east side. Cochiti Lake makes a great stop for a quick dip to cool off or for a full day of fun.
Located in the community of Cochiti Lake is the Cochiti Golf Club, an 18-hole public golf course. Regarded as one of New Mexico’s best golf courses, you can enjoy your game on a course within the high desert of north New Mexico. Experience breathtaking scenery as you play, and continue enjoying the views from the Stone Kiva Bar and Grill at the Golf Club, where you can relax after finishing your game.
Whether you choose to walk among the rock formations or relax and enjoy a picnic (or both!), keep your eyes out for a variety of birds that are frequently seen in the monument, like red-tailed hawks, violet-green swallows or a golden eagle.
As you look up, take in the contrast of the colorful rock formations from the clear blue sky. You may also encounter wildlife like chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels and sometimes larger animals like elk, deer and wild turkey.
Less than an hour from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is New Mexico’s capital city of Santa Fe. The city is known as a hub for arts that reflect the culture of the area and has been designated a UNESCO Creative City in Design, Crafts and Folk Art.
During your visit, you can visit art galleries and museums and enjoy fine dining. If you are seeking additional outdoor activity, you will find plenty of options in the cities’ Sangre de Cristo Mountains, that offer hiking and skiing opportunities.
About 50 minutes from Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is the Coronado Historic Site in the town of Bernalillo. The site is best known for including the ruins of the Kuaua pueblo, which was settled around 1325 through the end of the 16th century. The pueblo’s ruins were excavated from 1934-1939 and the visitor’s center displays restored kiva murals as well as Pueblo Indian and Spanish Colonial artifacts. There is also an interpretive trail that you can roam through the ruins.