I first learned about Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument a few months ago after I stumbled upon an article published by The Outbound called “Weekend Excursion: 72 Hours in Santa Fe, New Mexico.” Having loved every single trip I’ve ever taken to New Mexico, I knew we had to add this monument to our list of must-visit places.
It didn’t take much work to talk my husband into heading down to the Santa Fe area to celebrate our 11th anniversary over Memorial Day weekend. After a little bit of research, I reserved a campsite in the area and came up with a loose list of things I wanted to do while we were in New Mexico, the most important of which were hiking the slot canyon at Tent Rocks National Monument and having a spectacular dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Santa Fe.
At long last, the long weekend was upon us and it was time to head south. After a full day of driving and a full day of relaxing around the lake at our campsite, we piled in the car to visit nearby Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks.
It was sunny and dry and almost unbearably hot – at least for these Colorado-dwellers who are still getting used to temperatures in the upper 70s – but we carried a ton of water in with us and made sure to take frequent breaks in the shady spots along the trail. We hiked the Slot Canyon Trail first and were thoroughly entertained by the narrow slots we had to climb through on the way to the top.
We weren’t alone in thinking that Tent Rocks was a good destination for the long weekend; it was dizzyingly crowded on the trails that day and we had an interesting time marching single-file through the canyon with tons of other people. For the most part, our companions were courteous, and many were amused at the sight of Luke effortlessly chugging along the trail.
The view from the top was incredible. I found a rock to sit on and took Jack out of his carrier to stretch a bit and give my back a little break. The four of us enjoyed the view and relaxed in the breeze, happily taking a load off after quite some time on the trail. After waiting for a rather large group to start back down, we made our way down the steep switchbacks and back through the narrow canyon.
Instead of coming straight back the way we came in, we took the Cave Loop Trail back to the parking lot. Andy’s GPS watch read 4.5 miles by the time we made it back to the car, an impressive new record for Luke’s longest hike on his own two feet. Tired but content with our fun outing, we headed back to our campsite to get cleaned up and ready for dinner in Santa Fe.
Where We Camped
We camped in our trailer at Cochiti Recreation Area. I booked our campsite there because of its proximity to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and Santa Fe. The grounds were well maintained and had clean bathrooms and showers. Cochiti Recreation Area does not allow campfires or alcohol, a slight bummer for us since we like to cook desserts over the fire and my husband and I both enjoy an ice cold beer after a day of hiking. Although this campground met the majority of our needs over Memorial Day weekend, we would like to give other options a try if we return to camp in this part of New Mexico.
Where We Ate
For fantastic New Mexican food, visit Tomasita’s in Santa Fe. My husband grew up eating at this restaurant with his parents and siblings, and now we take our family there every time we are in the area. Try the Tamale Blue Plate, which features a tamale with red chile, a blue corn cheese enchilada with green chile, a beef taco, Spanish rice and refried beans, and a house margarita. Yum!