Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Written by on August 7, 2017 in NM Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument


Around 1.6 million years ago, a large area in New Mexico became geologically active. The Valles and Toledo craters began spewing out ash, rock fragments, searing hot gases and incandescent pyroclastic flows, burying the slopes and surrounding area in volcanic debris, called tuff, up to 1,000 feet deep.

The cone-shaped tent rocks of Kasha-Katuwe have been eroded from this tuff into spires with balanced rocks perched on top — these cap rocks protect the more fragile material below. Some of the tents have lost their caps rocks and are disintegrating. The formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet in height. The white-orangish and light gray tuff glows brilliant in the sun against the stunning blue skies of New Mexico.

Located on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The area provides marvelous opportunities for birdwatching, geologic observation, as well as stunning opportunities for photography.

Hiking in the monument is a great way to see the geologic features, plants and animals that live in the area. The 1.2-mile Cave Loop Trail is rated easy and portions are ADA accessible. The 1.5-mile trek up Canyon Trail is more difficult, but hikers will be rewarded with stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez and Sandia Mountains, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.

More stunning vistas are available at the nearby Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook. Dedicated in 2004 to all American Veterans, the overlook has spectacular views of Camada and Peralta canyons, the Dome Wilderness and Jemez mountains.

Kasha-Katuwe has always attracted humans to the area. The name, Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the native people. There are archeological sites that date back at least 4,000 years. During the 1300s, several large ancestral pueblos were established. Their descendants, the Pueblo de Cochiti, still live in the surrounding area.

Nearby Cochiti Lake offers a convenience store, gas as well as great outdoor recreation. Cochiti Lake Recreation Area has boating facilities, RV hookups and designated camp sites.

Other attractions in the area include:
Top 10 Things To Do in Sante Fe
Taos Pueblo
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Petroglyph National Monument
Top 10 Things To Do in Albuquerque

Kaha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Monument: 505-331-6259
Park Ranger: 505-761-8955
Website

Special Note: The photographs for this article were provided by photographer Bebe Marks. Bebe loves nature and exploring and her photographs are inspired by years of watching her mother, artist Henny Marks, paint in her studio. Bebe’s photographs capture to the soul of the southwest, and are for sale. You can take a look at her work on her website or you can call or email her at moc.liamgnull@yrellagotohpebeb or 505-220-9238.

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