Leo and I are huge fans of the Preston and Childs adventure series books. It has been Leo’s goal to hike a slot canyon in the Jemez mountains where many nasty, scary things happened in some of these books. Today he got his wish.
We drove about 39 minutes from our campground in Santa Fe, into the Cochiti Pueblo nation where the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rock National Monument is located and managed by the Cochiti Pueblo tribal governor, which the Cochiti consider it a sacred site.
The admission is $5 but if you are old enough like us, you get in free with your national park senior card. There are two trails to hike, the Slot Cayon Trail 2.4 miles round trip and the 1.3 mile Loop Cave trail.
We started with the slot Cayon Trail which takes you in a easy (until it gets super difficult) incline through gorgeous slot canyons which open up to spectacular rock formations. This national monument is 4,645 acres of light colored cone-shaped tent rock. These formations were created by a volcanic eruption between 6 or 7 million years ago. We climbed approximately 1,000 feet though the narrow slot canyons and the last 630 feet where steep, rocky ( I was totally pooped when I got to the top ) final climb to the top of the mesa.
Once you reach the top you are treated to a 360 degree view of the spectacular valley and rocks. The climb is difficult but oh so worth it!
We stayed up there for 1/2 hour or so for a drink of water and a snack. There is some unique vegetation, some small rugged species of sage, juniper and cacti. We didn’t see any animal life expect a lizard and that doesn’t count in my book. The hike down was a little tricky because of the steepness of the trail and you need a sure foot when you’re walking some of the very narrow sections. When we got to the bottom we connected with the Cave loop trail which takes you to a cave in the middle of a rock wall formation, very interesting. The trail loops back to the parking lot and is very well marked. Overall we spent around 3 hours on this hike. I highly recommend it for its beauty as well as the physical challenge. You really feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete this hike.