What Is The Tectonic Environment Of Tent Rocks, New Mexico

Geologic Tour: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Figure 1: A map of the index that shows the position of the monument. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located around 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe and 55 miles northeast of Albuquerque and is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (Figure1). From Albuquerque, take Interstate-25 north to Exit 259, which will take you to the Santo Domingo/Cochiti Lake Recreation Area. NM Highway 22 will take you northwest to Cochiti Pueblo, where you will see signs for it (turning left after crossing the Rio Grande).

To reach the monument parking area, go 5 kilometers on a gravel road that is well-maintained but frequently has washboard surfaces (marked with a sign).

After passing through Cochiti Pueblo, turn right onto NM 22 and follow the directions above to Cochiti Pueblo National Monument.

In the center of the monument, a view of a slot canyon may be seen in Figure 2.


Figure 3–Balanced rocks and erosional cones in the Peralta Tuff (white unit at the foot of the cliff) and Cochti Formation (gray unit higher up the cliff) at the entrance to Tent Rocks, which are part of the Peralta Tuff and Cochti Formation formations, respectively. Kasha-Katuwe In the Jemez Mountain volcanic field, Tent Rocks National Monument is located on the southeast side of the Valles and Toledo calderas, which are huge collapse structures that were produced by massive eruptions 1.61 and 1.25 million years ago in the Jemez Mountain volcanic field.

Kasha-Katuwe is a Keresan word that translates as “white cliffs” and is the traditional language of the adjacent Pueblo de Cochiti.

Tent Rocks’ hoodoos, erosional cones, and pedestal rocks are formed as a consequence of differential erosion, which is what gives the area its name (Smith, 1996).

At some point, the gravel clasts will be supported by pedestals, which will prevent further erosion of the sand and ash beneath them.

Regional Setting

It is located on the southeastern fringe of the Jemez volcanic area, which has been actively erupting for the past 15 million years. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument was established in 1988.

In the last 10 million years, the Rio Grande rift, an extensional feature that bisects the state of New Mexico, and the Jemez lineament, an ancient northeast-trending structure that has been a source of volcanism, have collided, forming the volcanic field that we see today.

Geology of the Tent Rocks Area

The geologic map of the Tent Rocks region, adapted from Lynch et al., is shown in Figure 4. (2004). The entry to the monument is marked with a black box, and the arrow in Figure 1 leads to the slot canyon. The monument is comprised of two major rock blocks that are exposed. The oldest unit is the Peralta Tuff Member of the Bearhead Rhyolite, which ranges in color from white to orangish-tan, while the younger unit is the gray Cochiti Formation, which is gray in color. At Tent Rocks, the uppermost part of the Peralta Tuff and the Cochiti Formation are exposed near the parking lot, while the lower part of the Peralta Tuff is exposed on the northwest side of a down-to-the-east splay of the Pajarito Fault zone in a slot canyon on the northeast portion of the monument (Smith et al., 1991; Smith, 1996).

There have been at least twenty vents that have extruded rhyolite domes and flows (Bearhead Rhyolite) discovered in the southern Jemez Mountains (Smith, 1996), and numerous additional vents have been discovered in the northeast wall of the Valles caldera and in the northern Jemez Mountains (Smith, 1996).

  • When the Bearhead Rhyolite was discovered, it was hypothesized to have been a magma chamber of equal magnitude to that which formed the Quaternary Valles and Toledo calderas under the Jemez Mountains in late Miocene period (Justet and Spell, 2001).
  • A total of 35 eruptive occurrences have been reported in the Peralta Tuff, which is located in the neighborhood of Tent Rocks (Smith, 1996).
  • Interbedded with the tuffs and tephras are layers of sand and gravel, reworked tuff, and old soil horizons that date back thousands of years (Smith and Katzman, 1991).
  • A transition occurs between glassy rhyolite and pumice found in the Peralta Tuff and devitrified rhyolite clasts found in the Cochiti Formation, resulting in the Cochiti Formation having a gray appearance.
  • When compared to the Peralta Tuff, the Cochiti Formation contains a small number of tephras.
  • (1991) and Smith (1996, 2001) have shown.
  • Groundwater traveling through the sediments is hydrating the glass, resulting in the transformation of black obsidian into gray perlite.

Because the clasts are frequently not entirely hydrated, an obsidian core surrounded by perlite is left behind. It is quite simple to separate obsidian from the broken perlite by erosion; as result of this, drainage bottoms often include a high concentration of tear-drop shaped obsidian shards.


  1. Effusive eruptions from a large silicic magma chamber: The Bearhead Rhyolite, Jemez volcanic field, New Mexico: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, vol. 73, no. 1, p. 61-70
  2. Justet, L., and Spell, T.L., 2001, Volcanic eruptions from a large silicic magma chamber: The Bearhead Rhyolite, Jemez volcanic field, New Mexico Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Open-file Geologic Map OF-GM 96, scale 1:24,000
  3. Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Open-file Geologic Map OF-GM 96, scale 1:24,000
  4. Rio Arriba County, New Mexico Smith, G.A., 1996, The geology of Tent Rocks: New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook 47, p. 89-90
  5. Smith, G.A., 2001, The geology of Tent Rocks: New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook 48, p. 89-90
  6. Smith, G.A., 1996, The geology of Tent Rocks: New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook 48, p. 89-90
  7. Smith, G.A., 1996 A pyroclastic apron developed near to rhyolite domes in a sinking basin: Upper Miocene Peralta Tuff, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico in Volcanoes of New Mexico, Volcanoes of New Mexico, Volcanoes of New Mexico, Volcanoes of New Mexico Smith, G.A., and D. Katzman, 1991, Discrimination of eolian and pyroclastic-surge processes in the generation of cross-bedded tuffs, Jemez Mountains volcanic field, New Mexico: Geology, v. 19, p. 465-468
  8. Smith, G.A., Larsen, D., Harlan, S.S., Mclntosh, W.C., Erskine, D.W

Question: What Is The Tectonic Environment Of Tent Rocks, New Mexico

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the result of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and produced layers of pumice, ash, and tuff that were more than 1,000 feet thick in some places.

How long does it take to hike Tent Rocks?

Getting to the summit will take longer if you are not used to climbing over rocks, but the views are well worth the effort. It was more than a year ago. I would estimate 3 to 3.5 hours for the Slot Canyon trek alone, to enable enough time to take it all in.

How much does it cost to fish at Sandia Lakes?

These individuals demand $20 per person to go fishing with them.

Are New Mexico state parks open to non residents?

The State Parks Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department has announced that day-use facilities are now accessible to the public immediately! Texas residents are once again welcome in New Mexico! In order to comply with COVID-19 regulations, the state of New Mexico temporarily banned its public parks to non-residents.

How far is Cochiti Lake from Santa Fe?

The distance between Cochiti Lake and Santa Fe is 22.61 miles (56.33 kilometers) in an easterly direction and 35 miles (56.33 kilometers) by automobile if you use the NM 16 route. If you drive nonstop between Cochiti Lake and Santa Fe, it will take you 48 minutes to get there. This is the shortest route between Cochiti Lake, New Mexico to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Is the Cochiti Pueblo open?

The Cochiti Visitor Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Call the Cochiti Visitor Center at 505-465-8535 for further information.

What kind of fish are in Isleta Lake?

Isleta Lakes is a body of water located in South Valley. The Channel catfish, Largemouth bass, and Blue catfish are the most often captured species in this location. On Fishbrain, 754 catches have been recorded.

What kind of fish are in Sandia Lakes?

Sandia Lake is a body of water located in North Valley. Channel catfish, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout are among the most frequently captured species in this area. On Fishbrain, 443 catches have been recorded. Find out the water depth of Sandia Lake and what other fishermen have to say about it.

Can you swim at Tingley Beach?

Tingley Beach is available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis and does not accept reservations. There are no available bookings. It is not permitted to smoke or consume alcoholic drinks. There is no wading or swimming allowed in the ponds.

Can you go camping in New Mexico right now?

Throughout New Mexico’s National Wilderness Preservation System, which is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, camping is authorized. These places, on the other hand, are completely devoid of any motorized or mechanical vehicles or equipment of any kind.

Is Cochiti Lake Open 2021?

The date is April 4, 2021. “We are thrilled to be able to offer some new recreational activities to the community and are appreciative for our working partnership with the Pueblo de Cochiti.”

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Where is Fenton Lake NM?

Fenton Lake State Park is a state park in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, United States. It is located 33 miles (53 kilometers) north of San Ysidro and is the state park’s only lake. The 37-acre (15-hectare) lake is a favorite fishing spot for the locals.

Who speaks Keres?

A linguistic isolate spoken by the Keres Pueblo people of northern New Mexico in the United States of America, Keres is a dialect of Spanish.

Keres, which is also known as Keresan, was spoken by around 10,670 people in 2007. Linguists have attempted to link Keres to other languages, such as the Hokan, Siouan, and Iroquoian languages, but have been unsuccessful.

Is Santa Cruz Lake open?

The Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area is available all year. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday. Fee stations are placed at the North Lake area’s entry, and a self-service pay station is available at the Overlook Campground, which is accessible by paved road.

What indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico?

Among Mexico’s indigenous languages, Náhuatl (1.4 million speakers), Yucatec Maya (750,000 speakers), and Mixteco (500,000 speakers) are by far the most widely spoken (500,000 speakers). The former is mostly spoken in Puebla, Veracruz, and Hidalgo, whereas Yucatec Maya is (as the name suggests) primarily spoken in the Yucatán peninsula.

Which lakes are open in NM?

There are currently six state parks and lakes that have reopened: Cimarron Canyon near Cimarron, Ute Lake near Logan, Brantley Lake near Carlsbad, Sumner Lake near Fort Sumner, Caballo Lake near Truth or Consequences, Cerrillos Hills near Santa Fe, Storrie Lake near Las Vegas, and Villanueva. There are currently no state parks and lakes that have reopened.

How do the people of Cochiti Pueblo preserve their language?

Keres is the native language of the Cochiti people, who have retained it to this day. It is important to them to retain their cultural customs, and they have established programs aimed at teaching and educating the younger generation about Pueblo traditions and cultural practices, with a particular emphasis on the indigenous language.

Why was the Cochiti Dam built?

A flood control dam, Cochiti Dam was constructed to mitigate the impact of excessive runoff on the surrounding area.

Can you swim in Cochiti Lake?

As a popular fishing area, the lake is home to a variety of species including bass, crappie, walleye, pike, catfish, sunfish, and trout. The Cochiti Recreation Area offers a popular swim beach with a family-friendly atmosphere that is open to the public for recreation.

Are dogs allowed at Cochiti Lake?

Cochiti Lake is a body of water in the United States. Cochiti Lake, located almost to Santa Fe on the way from Albuquerque, is a dog-friendly recreation facility featuring a handful of beach spots for visitors.

Is Blue Water Lake open?

Site The Bluewater Lake entrance gate is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. from April 1st to October 31st throughout the summer months. The hours of operation for the entrance gate throughout the winter, from November 1st to March 31st, are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Is Cochiti Lake man made?

During the construction of Cochiti Lake, one of the largest manmade lakes in the United States, built by the United States Corps of Engineers, nearly all of the available agricultural lands were demolished, as were the vast majority of traditional summer homes, the ecosystem was drastically altered, and sacred places of worship were desecrated.

How far is Cochiti Lake from Albuquerque?

Located on the Rio Grande about 50 miles upstream from Albuquerque, Cochiti Lake is administered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. It is located in Sandoval County, New Mexico, inside the limits of the Pueblo de Cochiti Nation and within the boundaries of Sandoval County, New Mexico.

Is Cochiti open for fishing?

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — On December 1, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Albuquerque District announced the appointment of Patrick Stevens as commander of the district.

There will be day-use recreation opportunities on the lake, including fishing, boating, picnics, and hiking, among other things.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico – EPOD

30th of March, 2021 Brian Sauls was the photographer. Brian Sauls is the author of the summary. The peculiar formations seen above are found in theKasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, which is located approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kasha-Katuwe is a Keresan Pueblo word that translates as “white cliffs.” It is estimated that the elements that make up these cone-shaped rock formations, known as hoodoos, were deposited 6-7 million years ago by volcanic pyroclastic flows that occurred during major volcanic eruptions in the nearbyJemez volcanic region.

The entire thickness of this volcanic layer is more than 1,000 feet thick (300 m).

With the entire array of towering pillars, which may reach heights of 90 feet (27 meters), a succession of deep, twisting and slot-like recesses has been created that are nearly too narrow to walk through.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument – Wikipedia

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Location Sandoval County, New Mexico,United States
Nearest city Cochiti Pueblo, NM
Coordinates 35°39′37″N106°24′30″W / 35.66028°N 106.40833°WCoordinates:35°39′37″N106°24′30″W / 35.66028°N 106.40833°W
Area 5,402 acres (21.86 km 2)
Established January 17, 2001
Governing body U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Website Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
U.S. National Monument

It is located roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, near the Cochiti Pueblo. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monumentis a United States National Monument located approximately 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, near the Cochiti Pueblo. It was designated as a United States National Monument by President Bill Clinton in January 2001 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Kasha-Katuwe is a Pueblo word that translates as “white cliffs” in the Keresan language.


At an elevation of between 5700 and 6400 feet (1737–1951 m) above sea level, Kasha-Katuwe is situated on thePajarito Plateau. The area’s extraordinary geology may be attributed to layers of volcanic rock and ash produced by pyroclastic flow from eruptions inside the volcanic field of the Jemez Mountains that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago, when the area was part of the Volcanic Field of the Jemez Mountains. The Peralta Tuff is the rock layer that contains these rock strata. Several strata are bright in color, which is the source of the monument’s Keresan name (which means “light color”).

Softpumiceandtuff make up the structure of the tent rocks.

The tent rocks range in height from a few feet to more than 90 feet high (27 m).

Recreational activities

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maintains hiking trails, as well as parking and bathroom facilities at the site. The Slot Canyon route is a one-way walk that travels 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through a slot canyon and up a steep ascent of 630 feet (190 m) to a vantage point from where the tent rocks may be seen. Approximately 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) in length, the Cave Loop route winds its way around the base of the cliffs, through some of the tent rocks, and past a tiny cave that looks similar to those seen at the nearbyBandelier National Monument.

According on road and weather conditions, the viewpoint is located at the end of a gravel road roughly 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of the tent rocks and may not be accessible at all times during bad weather.

The potential of flash floods in the slot canyons, as well as the high altitude of the monument, should be taken into consideration when trekking. Dogs are not permitted on the grounds of the monument.

In popular culture

At the monument, scenes from the science fiction television seriesEarth 2 were filmed.


  • Photographic Collection
  • Photograph showing a close-up of a few of the biggest hoodoos in the formation
  • A slot canyon with a tiny passageway through it
  • Tent rocks in the distance, with Cochiti Pueblo lands and the Rio Grande in the background

See also

  • Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area
  • Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Avolja Varo
  • Demoiselles Coiffées de Pontis
  • Hoodoo (geology)
  • Wilderness Act
  • Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area
  • Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wild


  • The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument webpage is maintained by the United States Bureau of Land Management. The Conservation System Alliance maintains a geologic tour of the monument, which is maintained by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology. Mineral Resources are defined as follows: The history of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument as well as driving directions are available on the National Park Service’s website. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is also listed on TripAdvisor as a popular tourist destination.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Update on July 9, 2021: The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is temporarily closed to the general public until further notice. During the closure, the Bureau of Land Management has had the chance to work on improvements that will improve the visitor experience when the park reopens. Trails are being upgraded as part of the project to relieve safety issues within the monument. In addition, the monument has published its first Draft Business Plan, which outlines the current state of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Recreation Program to ensure consistency with applicable statutes and laws, as well as future management goals and priorities for the program.

  1. The draft business plan is presently out for public review through July 9, 2021, and will be updated as needed.
  2. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is continuing to collaborate closely with the Pueblo de Cochiti to establish a reopening plan that will address long-standing challenges such as over-visitation, excessive wait times, staffing requirements, and the capacity to provide resource protection.
  3. As reopening plans become more formalized, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will release fresh information to the public through our website and social media accounts.
  4. Update as of June 28, 2021: It is now possible to provide feedback on the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks Business Plan through July 9, 2021.
  5. The monument is located in the heart of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
  6. It is solely accessible by foot and consists of two pieces that offer chances for hiking, birding, geology observation, and flora identification among other activities.
  7. Massive explosions from the Jemez volcanic region ejected pyroclasts (rock pieces), while scorching hot gases erupted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche known as a pyroclastic flow, causing a pyroclastic flow to form.
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Some of the tents have lost their firm, impervious caprocks and are beginning to crumble and disintegrate.

Please keep in mind that pets are not permitted within the Monument.

and 4:00 p.m.

Visitors must be out of the restricted area surrounding the fee booth by the time it closes.

Please be advised that owing to increased tourist traffic and a shortage of available parking, guests may face admission delays beginning at 9 a.m.

Waiting times might range from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the location.

In addition to New Year’s Day (January 1), the monument will be closed on the following dates: January 6, the Friday prior to Good Friday and Saturday prior to Good Friday and Saturday before Easter, Easter Sunday, and the Monday following Easter Sunday; May 3; July 13; July 14; July 25; November 1; Thanksgiving Day; Christmas Eve; Christmas Day; and New Year’s Eve.

Field Trip: Curious Learners in a Geologist’s Paradise: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

If you could take introductory-course geology students (maybe with a couple of spouses, children, or parents) to a location where they could spend a day hiking and exploring a square-mile region, wouldn’t that be amazing.

  • Aquifer hydrostratigraphy, soil formation, aqueous geochemistry, landscape development, and the interaction of culture and geology are some of the topics covered in this course.

Moreover, imagine the possibility that these students may consider geological structures at spatial dimensions ranging from sand grains to rift valleys, and at temporal durations ranging from millennia to millions of years?

Normal faults displacing pyroclastic layersLogistics

  • 7:45 a.m. departure
  • 4:45 p.m. return time Preparation should include the following steps: Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in warm weather, as well as hiking boots and a cap. Bring a daypack with you for lunch (which will be provided), water, sunscreen, a rain coat, and a digital camera (the scenery is spectacular). Following a one-hour journey to the fieldtrip location, participants walk throughout the day, staying away from cars and water sources. Temperatures might reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), and thunderstorms are expected in the afternoon. Walking distance and elevation gain during the entire hike: around 3 kilometers. Its elevation ranges from 5750 feet (1750 meters) to 6375 feet (1945 meters)
  • The trail is mostly easy, with one high section. Liability Releases: All participants will be required to sign liability waivers.


7:45 a.m. departure; 4 p.m. arrival; Preparation should include the following steps. Pack light, breathable clothing for hot weather, along with hiking boots and a cap for protection from the sun. Make sure to bring a daypack for your lunch (which will be given), as well as drink and sunscreen. Don’t forget to bring your camera (the scenery is spectacular). Once they arrive at the fieldtrip location, participants will walk throughout the day, staying away from automobiles and water. In the afternoon, temperatures are expected to reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).

The majority of the trail is moderate, except for the one steep segment.


Students in a slot canyon that has been carved by pyroclastic flows It is hoped that participants on this field trip would not only discover something of interest to them regardless of their specialty, but will also discuss how field locations might be used as venues for students to investigate the interrelated processes that geologists research. Using questions that encourage introductory-level students to speculate, hypothesis, test hypotheses, analyze geological data, and ask their own curiosity-driven questions, the leaders will demonstrate and facilitate discussion of these topics.


An approximately one-hour journey from the University of New Mexico will lead to a loop trek at the Monument, which will be followed by lunch at a local restaurant. A trail guide is provided at this location. The morning journey will take you to the end of the Slot Canyon Trail, where you will be treated to a spectacular view of the Rio Grande rift and surrounding mountain ranges around noon. A short detour into the slot canyon will be followed by a return trip back down the western portion of the Cave Loop Trail, which will take you back to where you started.

Cost and Registration

The field excursion has reached its maximum capacity. The email address for the waitlist is kherbstr at carleton dot edu if you would like to be added to it. The fee is $55, which includes transportation as well as a box lunch.

New Mexico National Monuments : Kasha-Katuwe

Visitors to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument from Albuquerque and Santa Fe will find it to be an extremely popular hiking destination.

Kasha-Katuwe is a Keresan word that translates as “white cliffs” and refers to the area surrounding Cochiti Pueblo. For some odd reason, the sign was placed on the exit ramp rather than on the highway, making it more difficult for first-time visitors to locate. Driving routes are provided below.


The American Southwest is a stunningly gorgeous petrie dish of geology with a diverse range of landscapes. While the study of rocks may appear dry in a classroom environment, terminology such as “weathering,” “erosions,” and “strata” come to life when traveling across the Southwest’s landscapes. Being able to recognize the different types of stone and what the striation in the stone signifies is similar to comprehending the language of the earth, since each stone is a witness to a tale about the ground it stands on.

Jemez Volcanic Field

Kasha-Katuwe is situated on the Pajarito Plateau, at a height of 5700-6400 feet above sea level, and is a small village. The volcanic activity that built the Jemez Mountains, as well as the rest of the region, shaped the region’s unusual topography. Volcanic activity has been occurring in the Jemez volcanic area for the past 15 million years. The Rio Grande rift and Jemez lineament, two ancient northeast-trending fault lines that have been the site of volcanic activity for the last 10 million years, came together to build the volcano.

  • Helens and Mount St.
  • It is built on top of an earlier caldera, the Toledo caldera, which itself may be built on top of an even older caldera, according to some estimates.
  • The calderas were produced during massive eruptions in the Jemez volcanic zone 1.61 and 1.25 million years ago.
  • The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located southeast of the caldera’s crater rim.
  • Layers of pumice, a spongy-looking rock with a soft texture, and tiny rock shards known as tuff accumulated across the terrain for miles beyond the caldera’s boundaries.
  • With the weight of the earth, the strata were compressed into a crumbly matrix rock that has the appearance of a cement mixture.
  • Many of the strata are light in color, which is the inspiration for the monument’s Keresan name, which means “light color.” Weathering and erosion have etched slot canyons and tent rocks into the landscape throughout time.

Tent Rocks

The soft pumice and tuff that make up the tent rocks serve as the foundation for the tent rocks. They range in height from a few feet to more than 90 feet high. The majority of them have a recognizable conical form, and some still have their caprocks of harder stone on top of them. The Tent Rocks, which are located near the parking lot and range in height from a few feet to more than 30 feet, form a cluster. The majority of them, on the other hand, have already lost their caprocks, which mark the final step in the life cycle of a hoodoo creature.

As you begin your hike, keep an eye out for a textbook example of hoodoo creation near the edge of the crumbling mesa.

As the route goes past the slot canyon, the hoodoos grow in size and variety in shape.

The short, steep slope that leads to the viewpoint provides a bird’s eye perspective of the hoodoo life cycle.

The protecting caps of some have corroded away to lumps, whereas the caps of others are still in place. The spectacular view of the Rio Grande valley and the Jemez Mountains from the top of the cliff is well worth the short ascent required to reach the top of the rock.

Apache Tears

“Apache tears” are tiny, spherical fragments of obsidian or volcanic glass that are found in the desert. Tent Rocks is a popular destination for them. It appears like they are being eroded out of the tuff gravels. During the course of a day, groundwater passing through the sediment hydrates the glass composites, transforming the black obsidian into grey perlite. When perlite forms around a composite that hasn’t been completely saturated with water, it forms a shell around the composite with an obsidian core within.

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Tent Rocks | Kasha-Katuwe National Monument

Rio Puerco BLM Field Office is located at 100 Sun Avenue NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Phone: (505) 761-8700 (Field Office) Phone number for Monument: (505) 331-6259 Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fee:$5/vehicle. The Cochiti Pueblo receives a portion of the money in exchange for granting access. There is parking accessible on the premises. Restrooms are available, as are picnic areas. Tent Rocks is only available for daytime usage. There is no campsite in the park, and rustic camping is not permitted.

  • There will be no camping. Dogs are not permitted on the premises. Keep an eye out for snakes. Depending on where you are standing, cell phone service is hit or miss (usually miss)


From Albuquerque, take the Santo Domingo/Cochiti Lake Recreation Area exit (Exit 259) off Interstate 25 and merge onto New Mexico 22. NM 22 leads to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, which may be reached by following the signage. From Santa Fe, go south on I-25 until you reach the Cochiti Pueblo Exit 264, which will put you on NM 16. Exit New Mexico 16 onto New Mexico 22, and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo and the Cochiti National Monument to your destination. During national holidays, Pueblo de Cochiti cultural observances, and normal Bureau of Land Management maintenance, the monument will be closed:

  • January 6, the Friday before Easter, Easter Sunday, and the Monday following Easter
  • May 3, the 13th and 14th of July, the 25th of July
  • November 1, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day


There are two hiking paths that lead into the formations itself. The short Cave Loop Trail goes through an open region at the foot of the cliffs, providing close-up views of cones, hoodoos, gullies, and a cave-like alcove. The trailhead is at the bottom of the cliffs. The Slot Canyon Trail breaks off towards the far side of the loop, and is a little more difficult. It winds its way down a tiny gully before reaching to a spectacular observation point above the rock structures. During severe weather, slot canyons may be quite deadly.

There is a reason why it is called a slot canyon.

The route through the slot canyon leads to a ledge overlooking the canyon on the other side of the canyon.

The trek is rather short and straightforward. There is just one tough section, which is the ascent to the cliff top. However, the view of the Rio Grande valley, Jemez mountains, Sandia mountains, and Sangre de Cristo mountains is well worth the effort because the scenery is breathtaking.

Cave Loop Trail

The Cave Loop Trail has a total length of 1.2 kilometers. It starts off north of the trailhead, passing through one set of cones before winding around the edge of a small valley to the south. Despite the fact that the route is rather flat and offers pleasant views, the greatest rock formations are not visible from this vantage point. The route is well-marked, with several warnings about snakes, the need of keeping on the track, and the prohibition on rock gathering among its many features. It connects with the Slot Canyon Trail before returning to the picnic area via a circular route.

Slot Canyon Trail

The Slot Canyon Trail is approximately 3 miles round trip in length. This is a well-traveled route, and for good reason. In New Mexico, it is considered to be one of the greatest short trails. Soon after departing from the Cave Loop, the trail follows a wash that gradually narrows and opens out into a spectacular slot canyon cut into the tuff. The contours of the canyon walls are breathtaking, and they provide plenty of photographic opportunities for both amateur and expert photographers. Approximately 14.5 miles into the hike, the slot canyon widens and narrows, eventually reaching to a plateau with multiple trails leading to views overlooking the rock formations.

The most impressive tent rocks may be found at the end of the walk, with some standing more over 90 feet tall and forming a natural arch.


  • A brochure (PDF), a park map and a trail guide (PDF), a trail guide for students (PDF), and more are available at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (Bureau of Land Management).

Keep an eye out for the petroglyph that may be seen on the slot canyon’s wall. On your journey back to the parking lot, you are more likely to notice anything.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Strange landforms formed by “layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion within the Jemez Volcanic Field that happened six to seven million years ago” in the Jemez Volcanic Field, according to the National Geographic. Kasha-Katuwe is Keresan for “white cliffs,” and this region of white tent-shaped rock formations was designated as a national monument in January 2001, earning the moniker Tent Rocks in honor of the white cliffs that surround it. The region is only allowed for investigation during the daytime, and even then, it might be closed at the discretion of the local Cochiti Pueblo Tribal Governor if necessary.

The pointed ends of the rocks gradually spread into conical-shaped bottoms, giving them the unique appearance of a teepee when viewed from above.

In addition to the natural beauty of the stone mountains, the area provides an excellent chance to learn about the lives and history of the indigenous people. The monument is one of the National Landscape Conservation System units managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Kasha-Katuweu00a0Tent Rocks a whimsy of nature

This is an excellent time of year to explore Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, located about 30 miles southwest of Santa Fe on the grounds of the Cochiti Pueblo. The monument is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and is a national monument. In the summer, the sun scorches the terrain in a way that only a nuclear reactor can. The cliffs both absorb and reflect the sun’s rays. Although the “official” temperature is 102 degrees, it may feel like the final two numbers have been switched around here amid the rocks.

  1. well, it’s New Mexico, after all.
  2. Kasha-Ketuwe is the Keresan word for “white cliffs,” which comes from the Cochiti language.
  3. It is an apt name for the country.
  4. Located in the Jemez Mountains volcanic area, where a zone of crustal weakness exists where it intersects with the Rio Grande rift, the tent rocks are a feature of the landscape.
  5. The top layer of rock, which is tougher than the rest of the rock, is what gives the tent rocks their characteristic form.
  6. Later, when the cliff walls eroded, the hard cap rock changed the erosion of the deposits that formed the hoodoas, altering their appearance.

In the process of collapsing, he explains, “the spirits of the ancient ones are freed, and new hoodoos are created for the arrival of new chiefs.” To reach the Kasha-Katuwe viewpoint, you’ll have to tackle the slot canyon route, which winds through distinctive rock formations and gains 630 feet in height over the course of 1.3 kilometers.

The route has been shaped by the water.

You may also stroll beneath a roof produced by enormous rocks that have fallen free in other spots on the property.

To proceed, you must scramble up ledges that are three to four feet high – a fascinating but not tough challenge.

Several other strata have the impression of waves and swirls, which appear to have been carved by flowing water.

These are caused by poorly sorted pyroclastic flows, which are ash flows that may travel downhill from the volcanic throat at speeds faster than the speed of sound.

The area around the trees degraded as the trees increased in size.

Finally, erosion causes the tree to tumble and die as a result of its weakening roots.

Although it might be difficult at times, it is balanced with simpler switchbacks and is well worth the effort.

Sumac, scrub oak, and manzanita are among the plants found here.

From the peak, you can see the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the north, which is a beautiful sight.

The Cochiti reservoir, a sliver of blue amid the gray-green terrain, is a short drive away.

Birds of prey such as turkey vultures and hawks are common sights in the sky.

The tent rocks, which have been sculpted into ridiculous shapes only by Mother Nature’s imagination, are seen below.

The plateau from which they arise is large, and it takes decades for them to be eroded by the environment around them.

There will be enough of tent rocks to keep the souls of the ancestors contained for many centuries to come.

You’ll see a sign pointing you to the national monument just as you’re about to go into the pueblo.

Keep in mind that you’ll be trekking at an elevation of one mile above sea level, and you’ll lose a lot of water rapidly.

Bud Russo, a freelance writer based in Las Cruces, is the author of “Heroes and Villains of New Mexico: A collection of genuine stories,” which is available on Amazon.

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