Just less than an hour drive from the center of Albuquerque you will find a place where Nature and culture meet. Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks is a place to hike, reflect and enjoy a beautiful example of the natural history in New Mexico just as the Pueblo Peoples of the area have done for thousands of years.When my kids were young we would pack up some snacks and drinks to head off to what was then called only Tent Rocks. We parked in the dirt and headed for the canyon hike up to the mesa. When we came down we would wander the flat area below the cone shaped rocks and sometimes found obsidian and offerings of feathers, sticks, beads and rocks left behind by the people living nearby. My kids were always told to leave the offerings be, as they were someone’s prayer. I think that made this place even more special for them.
In 2001 our Tent Rocks were named a National Monument by President Clinton, and was renamed “Kasha Katuwe”, meaning “white cliffs” in the Keresan language of the Pueblo People who lived in this area. These People consider this area to be sacred and significant.
The rocks were formed as a result of volcanic eruptions that were part of New Mexico’s past. Wind and water have finely shaped what was left behind. The canyon that comes down through the rocks from the mesa above provides a short hike of medium difficulty. It can be tough on the knees for someone with knee problems, but it is well worth a try because the photo ops and the views at the top are spectacular. You can rest at the top. Bring your water with you.
It is very easy to get to from Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Take Interstate 25 to exit 259, (Cochiti Lake/Santa Domingo Pueblo). Take State Route 22 toward Cochiti Pueblo and turn right at the water tower. Then follow this access road to the BLM road and continue 5 miles to the parking area. There is now a fee of $5.00 per car – a bargain for what you will be experiencing.
Very close by Kasha Katuwe is the Pueblo of Cochiti, and Cochiti Lake. The Lake offers camping, fishing and boating. The Pueblo offers one of the best mountain golf courses in the state. No matter what you enjoy, don’t skip Tent Rocks. You will feel spiritually blessed by your visit, and the memories will last forever.
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Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!