May 6, 2017
Our plan was to visit Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. It is a relatively new monument and there aren’t very many hikes.
But the Tent Rocks seemed interesting.
We started later in the morning than we would have liked. Plus, it was a Saturday. Most of the places we have been to haven’t had a lot of people. This place was certainly an exception. I’m really glad we took the motorcycle. It might have been a challenge to find parking otherwise.
We wanted to do the Slot Canyon hike. It connects to the Cave Loop. The trail climbs significantly.
At first, it is mostly just a gradual up through typical trees.
After it breaks off of the Cave Loop, it quickly turned into a slot canyon with very little vegetation.
Because it was also formed by the eruption of the volcano at Valles Caldera, the rock is made of very soft pumice, ash and tuff deposits.
It wears away in a very distinctive conical shape, like a teepee, hence the name “Tent Rocks”.
The slot canyon part of it is pretty interesting.
There were a very large number of people also taking the same trail. I was astounded by the number and the varying levels of fitness, etc. It is a challenging hike with some tight spots that might intimidate most people.
It requires a significant climb to get to the top.
But we saw all sorts of people on the climb.
The last bit was the steepest part of the hike.
The view from the top was great.
There were a lot of people at the top close to the top of the trail.
We walked a little further along where there were only a couple of people. One of them was nice enough to take our photo and we reciprocated.
The climb down was uneventful but pretty. We took the other leg of the Cave Loop Trail. The highlight of the Cave Loop Trail was a cave.
There was a Native American family at it when we arrived. The grandfather remembered when you could climb up to the cave. There were numerous signs stating all the things you couldn’t do, including climbing up to it.
After a snack at the trail parking area, we rode up to the other part of the park. There was almost no one there.
There is a wonderful overlook called appropriately enough, Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook.
You can see some of the tent rocks from here.
It had a great view of the Dome Plateau that we drove down the day before.
There is also a one mile hike at the top of this hill.
It was relatively uneventful, but the view of the sky was incredible.
After we finished, there were no cars left in the parking lot.
We headed out and had a nice dinner back at the campground. It had been a good day of hikes and interesting sights.