Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks
Trail Guide for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (NM) in New Mexico. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
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Fee Amounts (U.S. Currency and U.S. Bank Checks only) The monument is a Standard Amenity Fee Site. All your fees are returned to the site for monitoring, maintenance, and improvements. Please have exact change. • Group sizes up to 8 individuals–$5. • Group sizes 9 to 25 individuals–$25. • Group sizes over 25 individuals–$100. Passes Sold and Issued at Entrance • Lifetime Senior Pass–$80. • Annual Senior Pass—$20. • Annual Pass–$80. • Military Annual Pass–Free • Access Pass–Free • Every Kid in the Park Pass (EKIP)–Free Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument From the Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook, you can see spectacular vistas of Camada and Peralta Canyons, the Dome Wilderness, and Jemez Mountains. A beautiful view of the tent formations from atop the Canyon Trail. Accredited Public/Private Schools/Colleges/Universities– No fee–Day-use permit required–Call two weeks in advance for a permit and scheduling. Special Recreation Permits (SRPs)–Organized groups such as weddings and reunions, and commercial operations such as tours, filming, or professional photography must apply and obtain a SRP prior to conducting business. Visitor Services Lost and Found Check for lost and found items at the monument fee booth 505/331-6259 or the BLM Office. Amenities The monument has ADA compliant rest rooms, picnic facilities and kiosks, however, there is no drinking water. Nearby Convenience Stores Pueblo de Cochiti Visitor Center–Open 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Located at the corner of Highway 22 and Route 85 for refreshments. Golf Course, Gas and Camping Facilities at Cochiti Lake An ATM machine, refreshments and gas, can be obtained at the convenience store located near the town of Cochiti Lake. Camping, boating facilities and RV hookups are accessible at the Cochiti Lake Recreation Area. Background photo by Floyd Pecos Trail Guide Hikers enjoy all seasons at the monument. he Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages KashaKatuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (KKTR)to protect its geologic, scenic and cultural values. The agency works in close coordination and cooperation with the Pueblo de Cochiti to provide access, facility development and maintenance, resource protection, research opportunities, public education and enjoyment. The Pueblo de Cochiti has always considered this area a significant place. “KashaKatuwe” means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the pueblo. Under the BLM’s administration, these lands were designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and contain a National Recreational Trail. On January 17, 2001, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks was designated a national monument. The boulder “cap” protects the fragile tent-shaped formation beneath it. Of Time and the Rocks Located on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, the monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The elevation of the monument ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.” In close inspections of the arroyos, visitors will discover small, rounded, translucent obsidian (volcanic glass) fragments created by rapid cooling. Please leave these fragments for others to enjoy. Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet. As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of grey are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face. Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semicircles. The monument serves as an outdoor laboratory for students of all ages. Historical and Cultural Perspective The complex landscape and spectacular geologic scenery of the monument has been a focal point for visitors for centuries. Surveys have recorded many archaeological sites reflecting human occupation spanning 4,000 years. During the 14th and 15th centuries, several large ancestral pueblos were established and their descendants, the Pueblo de Cochiti, still inhabit the surrounding area. In 1540, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado made mention of the Pueblo de Cochiti in their diaries. Throughout the 17th century, settlers would follow Juan de Oñate’s route along the Rio Grande Valley, bringing trade, farming and domestic animals, and claiming land grants from the Spanish Crown. In 1680, the Cochiti people joined other pueblos in a rebellion that drove the Spaniards south to El Paso, Texas. By 1870, iron rails stretched into the territory of New Mexico bringing loggers, miners and others to enjoy its rich natural resources. Plants and Animals In the midst of the formations, clinging to the cracks and crevices high on the cliff face, the vibrant green leaves and red bark of the manzanita shrub stand in sharp contrast to the muted colors of the rocks. A hardy evergreen, the manzanita produces a pinkish-white flower in the spring that adds to the plant’s luster. Other desert plants found in the area include Indian paintbrush, Apache plume, rabbitbrush, and desert marigold. Depending on the season, Manzanita–used for medicinal purposes by Native Ameircans. you are likely to see a variety of birds. Red-tailed hawks, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, House Finches, violet-green swallows, Hepatic Tanagers, and an occasional golden eagle soar above the area or use piñoncovered terrain near the cliffs. The ponderosa pine and piñon-juniper woodlands provide habitat for big game and nongame animals. Elk, mule deer, and wild turkey frequent the higher elevations. Coyotes, chipmunks, rabbits, and ground squirrels are prevalent. Getting There Photo courtesy of Fish & Wildlife Service T WELCOME TO KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS NATIONAL MONUMENT The monument includes 5,610 acres of public land located 35 miles south of Santa Fe and 52 miles north of Albuquerque, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. From Albuquerque, take the exit for Santo Domingo/ Cochiti Lake Recreation Area (Exit 259) off I-25 onto NM Route (SR) 22. Follow the signs on SR 22 to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Turn right off SR 22 at the pueblo turquoise-colored water towers onto the access road, Tribal Route 92, which connects to The House Finch is commonly seen BLM Road 1011/FS 266. From at the monument—the male has a the fee station, travel 4 miles bright red chest while the female is to the monument’s designated brown with bold streaks. parking/picnic area and trailhead. Recreation vehicles (RV’s) are not suggested on the gravel road leading to the Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook and Loop Trail. From Santa Fe, take the Cochiti Pueblo Exit 264 off I-25 onto NM Route (SR)16. Turn right off SR 16 onto SR 22 and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo and KKTR. GPS coordinates: 35º36’52.0”N106º21’33.2”W A portion of the 4-mile access road to the monument crosses Pueblo de Cochiti tribal land. Neighbors in the vicinity include the Santo Domingo and Jemez Pueblos, private landowners, and the Santa Fe National Forest. Please respect these landowners and their property. Restrictions are posted. National Recreational Trail The National Recreational Trail is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for bird-watching, geologic observation and plant identification. Both segments of the trail begin at the designated monument parking area. The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long, rated as easy and portions are ADA accessible. The more difficult Canyon Trail is a 1.5-mile Recreationalists enjoy the unique rock trek up a narrow canyon with a formations along the Slot Canyon Trail. steep (630-ft) climb to the mesa top for excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley. Both trails are maintained; however, during inclement weather the canyon may flash flood and lightning may strike the ridges. Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook The Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook was dedicated in 2004, to all American Veterans. The overlook provides spectacular vistas of Camada and Peralta canyons, the Dome Wilderness and Jemez mountains. From the main trailhead parking area travel 3.5 miles west on BLM 1011 to the Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook parking area. The overlook offers a quiet area for contemplation and reflection. Road conditions and access are seasonal. At the overlook, you will find ADA-accessible picnic areas, rest rooms, trails and facilities. Your Safety, Our Concern STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS. NO CLIMBING ON ROCK FORMATIONS OR INTO CAVE. Volcanic deposits, tuff rock and vegetation are extremely fragile and easily damaged by foot traffic. Your two feet may not seem like much but multiply that by thousands! Emergency Assistance Call 911 for the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Water There is no drinking water available at the monument. Please bring your own drinking water. (Glass containers can be hazardous and are best left at home.) Weather During periods of inclement weather, the access road may wash out or become impassible. Contact the BLM or the monument for current road conditions. Hours of Operation Entry into the monument is between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Closing procedures begin at 3:30 p.m. in order to clear the monument by 5:00 p.m. Trails are closed at 4:30 p.m. Gates are locked and the monument is closed at 5:00 p.m. VISITORS MUST BE OUT OF THE FEE-BOOTH-GATED AREA BY CLOSING TIME. During periods of peak visitation, such as holidays and weekends, the monument quickly fills to capacity—all available parking spaces become filled. This forces staff to hold visitors at fee booth until parking spaces become available. One can expect a 30-minute to 90-minute wait. Closure Dates The monument will be closed to visitation on the following dates: January 1 July 13-14 January 6 July 25 Friday before Easter November 1 Easter Sunday Thanksgiving Day Monday after Easter December 25 May 3 Pueblo de Cochiti Please respect the traditions and privacy of the Pueblo de Cochiti. Photography, drawings, and recordings are not permitted in the Pueblo or on Tribal land without permit. Rules and Fines For the health and safety of all visitors, the monument is closed to dogs. Only identifiable service animals are allowed. Strictly prohibited: climbing and defacing the formations and cave, use of drones, shooting, collecting plants and rocks. The monument is a Day Use Only area—No camping, fires, or cooking is allowed. Fines range from $50 to $250 for violating federal regulations on fees, speeding, damage to the monument’s natural resources, and other infractions. For a complete listing, call the BLM Law Enforcement. Bureau of Land Management Albuquerque District, Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Ave. NE Pan American Bldg., Suite 330 Albuquerque, NM 87109 505/761-8700, or the monument 505/331-6259 www.blm.gov/new-mexico BLM/NM/GI-05-08-1232