A lot of our posts lately have shined the spotlight solely on the expedition vehicle, so this time we wanted to do something a little different: A short piece about the places we travel to IN it. Though this particular journey did not take us off-road in the 6×6 (as other recent adventures have), we wanted to share this gem between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Yesterday, we explored the the Kasha-Katuwe National Monument in the Cochiti Pueblo of New Mexico. A BLM site also known as “Tent Rocks,” this unusual series of rock formations was created as a result of erosion following volcanic explosions 7 million years ago, leaving behind pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. The result is some pretty spectacular-looking cone-shaped hoodoos.
Though the hike was short and relatively easy (only about 4 miles), it offers up maximal cool-factor with minimal effort. There are two trails – you’ll want to stay to the right and tack on the Slot Canyon Trail to the original Cave Loop Trail to get the real juicy parts of the hike in.
The first part of the hike is fast and flat as it meanders on the base of the canyon floor on a well marked trail. Tight in spots and requiring a bit of scrambling, we highly recommend going early as it can get crowded. (We shouldn’t have to mention this, but feel we should…It’s a narrow arroyo. In other words: Don’t be a moron. Watch the hell out for floods if it starts raining.)
Once through the slot canyon, the trail opens up and the climbing begins. Think of it like a gentle stair master for just over a mile until you reach the rewardingly expansive and unique views at the top of the mesa.
Since Bethany is on a continual quest for “treasure,” whether that be shark teeth on the Venice, FL coast, sea glass, or sand dollars, it was fun to take her treasure hunt to the desert. Along the hike, we found hundreds of small volcanic glass pebbles, often referred to as “Apache Tears.”
Here is the view of the narrow entrance to the slot canyon.
And a short video of what it feels like to walk through the slot canyon before it opens up.
- From I-25, take Exit 264 onto NM 16. Turn right onto NM 22 and follow signs for the Cochiti Pueblo. While you’re in the area, learn about the devastating effect the Cochiti Dam (one of the world’s largest earthen dams) on the Rio Grande, had on the native peoples of this area. Day Use Only ($5), but your National Parks Pass will get you in free of charge.
Now we have a week’s worth of work before heading to Utah for some mountain biking and to visit friends en route to the Pacific Northwest, but stay tuned for a snapshot of our time in New Mexico. Keep following along on instagram.