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Tent Rocks

tent rocksNeighborhood: Cochiti Pueblo
Phone: (505) 761-8794 x 29

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes, as well as other cultural and biological objects of interest. The area is rich in pumice, ash, and tuff deposits, the light-colored, cone-shaped tent rock formations that are the products of explosive volcanic eruptions that occurred between 6 and 7 million years ago. Small canyons lead inward from cliff faces, and over time, wind and water have scooped openings of all shapes and sizes in the rocks and have contoured the ends of the ravines and canyons into smooth semicircles. In these canyons, erosion-resistant caprocks protect the softer tents below. While the formations are uniform in shape, they vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet, and the layering of volcanic material intersperses bands of grey with beige-colored rock.

Amid the formations and in contrast to the muted colors of the rocks of the monument, vibrant green leaves and red bark of manzanita, a shrubby species from the Sierra Madre of Mexico, cling to the cracks and crevices of the cliff faces. Red-tailed hawks, kestrels, violet-green swallows, and Western bluebirds soar above the canyons and use the pinion and ponderosa covered terrain near the cliffs.

A New Monument for New Mexico President Clinton proclaimed the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in January 2001. It encompasses over 4,000 acres of land that the Bureau of Land Management manages, along with additional lands of the Pueblo de Cochiti.

Together, they comprise an area of remarkable landscapes, scenery and geology. The Monument is on the Parajito Plateau in north central New Mexico. Among the natural and scientific features the Monument is meant to protect are those that give it its name: unusual cone-shaped or “tent” rocks formed during volcanic eruptions between 6 and 7 million years ago.

Directions: Cochiti exit 264 off 1-25, Go right on NM 16, continue for 8 miles, turn right when road Tís, turn right on 22, then at the base of Cochiti Dam in 2.7 miles turn left on NM 22, go 1.7 miles turn right on Tribal Rd.92/Forest Service Rd 266. Pass through a gate and continue for 5 miles to the parking area on the right.

Hours: dawn to dusk Admission: FREE

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