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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument near Albuquerque

Beautiful natural scenery just north of Albuquerque
Beautiful natural scenery just north of Albuquerque
Suzanna Chavez

Just a short drive north of Albuquerque is a wondrous geologic and unique scenic national monument, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the traditional native language of the Cochiti Pueblo and is a good descriptor of the appearance of these amazingly formed rocks and cliffs, which are also layered with grey and pinkish rocks due to volcano activity.

There are many interestingly cone-shaped tent rocks lining the trails; these rocks were formed some 6 to 7 million years ago when volcanic eruptions left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Wind and water cutting into the rock walls created the breathtaking canyons seen throughout the monument.

There are two recreational foot trails. The Cave Loop Trail is an easy hike and is 1.2 miles long, whereas the more challenging trail, Canyon Trail, is 1.5 miles long and includes a steep climb to the top of the mesa. Once at the top, hikers can get amazing views of the several nearby mountain ranges and Rio Grande Valley.

Bring plenty of water, as none is available at the monument. The winter (November 1 to March 10) visitation hours are from 8am-5pm and summer (March 11-October 31) is from 7am-7pm.