#2 in Series of Top Recommended Santa Fe Day Trips – See part one here.
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Santa Fe Tourist Attractions To See During Your Day Trip
In north-central New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, lies a unique and breathtaking scenic geological area known as Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. The location makes for a perfect destination for a Top Santa Fe day trip! Whether driving from Albuquerque Sunport to get to Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast in downtown Santa Fe or departing Santa Fe to return to Albuquerque, we highly recommend this Top Santa Fe Day trip to make your visit memorable! NOTE: Approximate drive time is 40 minutes.
Kasha-Katuwe or “white cliffs” as known in Keresan (the traditional language of the Cochiti Pueblo people) is now a US National Park that features large, tent-shaped rocks that hug steep cliffs of the Peralta Canyon. It is stated that these rocks were created from powerful forces of vulcanism and erosion, having been built up and then torn down to create a one-of-a- kind landscape. Theory states that during the last million years, a tremendous volcanic explosion northwest of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks spewed rock and ash for hundreds of square miles, leaving volcanic debris up to 400 feet thick. Over time, water has cut into these deposits, creating canyons, arroyos, and other area features. Cone-shaped rock formations where wind- and water-eroded pumice and tuff deposits make for spectacular viewing. Formation tops feature hard, erosion-resistant caprocks which have protected the softer “tents” below over time. While uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet- something Santa Fe visitors will enjoy photographing and hiking in this slot canyon.
To create a TOP Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks day trip we recommend the following: Make a full day trip by leaving Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast in downtown Santa Fe after a hearty breakfast to include red chile pork tamales, then out of town South to I-25S (Albuquerque). Access to the park is via Cochiti pueblo. (Direction are below). Hiking and exploring this slot canyon can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2+ hours- the farther you hike into the formations the more amazing the tents! When finished in the park, backtrack through Cochiti Pueblo, but this time head toward the Santo Domingo Pueblo! An actively inhabited Northern New Mexico pueblo that will add to your Top Santa Fe Day trip adventure. Continue to head toward I-25 and take N toward Santa Fe or S to Albuquerque. If returning to Santa Fe consider this side trip! Take highway 14 (Turquoise Trail)- officially a scenic byway, Highway 14 will take you past Cerrillos NM an enchanting old coal mining town and into Madrid, NM. This once popular and economically hopping town was originally founded to fund the energy war efforts. Coal mining companies came in which allowed settlers to stake claims and live in this small, but influential town years ago. After the war, the coal mines withdrew leaving the town virtually abandoned. Around the 1980’s this area became rediscovered by east coasts artists who have today made this sleepy little village a fun and funky visitors stop on the Turquoise Trail! We suggest planning lunch or happy hour at the Mine Shaft Tavern as they are known for their Madchile cheeseburger (winner of Santa Fe Smackdown) and Madchile margarita!
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe and 50 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. Take the Cochiti Reservoir exit from I-25 to NM Route 22 and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo. Turn right at the pueblo water tower (painted like a drum) onto Tribal Route 92 (connects to Forest Service Road 266). Travel 5 miles on a dirt road to the Tent Rocks parking area, which is marked with a sign. This is the only parking area for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks.
Looking for New Mexico lodging in Santa Fe that creates a one-of-a-kind travel experience? Look no farther- Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn provides historic adobe downtown lodging that no other can replicate! Check out our history here: Availability here: Special Travel Deals Here!