This quick out-and-back takes you through a narrow slot canyon and ends at an overlook of the Monument’s namesake teepee (or tent) shaped rock formations.
Of the two main trails at this trailhead for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Tocks National Monument, the Cave Loop Trail
is the more difficult, but is also the more picturesque. You’ll start off hiking among the Monument’s unique tent-shaped hoodoos along a sandy trail, and then enter a narrow, but beautiful, slot canyon.
The canyon then opens up before the trail makes its way steeply up the canyon wall to an overlook of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, and Sandia mountains, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.
Need to Know
Use caution when hiking in the slot canyon. Beware of rock falls during wet and windy conditions and the possibility of flash flooding during inclement weather.
From the trailhead, the trail heads to the northeast and is well-marked as it winds through the park’s namesake tent rock hoodoos. These formed from erosion after the Jemez volcanic field erupted 6-7 million years ago. The formations are still forming and pumice and tuff are quite fragile so please remain on the trail.
A half-mile into the hike, you’ll arrive at the intersection for the easier Cave Loop Trail
to the left. The Canyon Trail continues to the right, and will continue to a narrow slot canyon. This area is quite picturesque, and many visitors will stop and take pictures through this section. Please be courteous to other visitors and allow them to pass in areas that allow. Also, beware of rock falls during wet and windy conditions and the possibility of flash flooding during inclement weather.
Just over a mile into the hike, you’ll start to climb out of the canyon. The trail gets quite steep with dozens of steps as it switchbacks up the canyon wall. During the warm, summer months, take your time and use caution to avoid heat-related injuries. During the winter, watch for icy conditions in this section. The trail tops out with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and the valley below. You’ll return to the trailhead along the same route.