Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Highpoint Trip Report

Date: November 25, 2005
Author: John Mitchler

General Description: A remote drive on gravel roads passing the incredible Tent Rocks
erosion features, and a short walk along a fence among junipers.

General Location: North-central NM, west of Santa Fe xx miles, in heavily eroded canyon country.

Distance: 1/4 mile one-way
Difficulty: Easy walk
Elevation gain: 10 feet
Summit elevation: xxx feet
Maps: Canada (optional) USGS Quad, DeLorme p. 23, Trails Illustrated # xx.
Access/permits: Open / None required
Best months: Year-round, when road is not snowbound.
Visitor Centers: unmanned kiosk and picnic area along the approach road

Highpoint Description: Broad high ground between shallow gullies.

Finding the trailhead:
Along I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, take Exit 164 and go north on NM 16 for 8.0 miles. Turn right (north) on NM 22 and proceed 2.6 miles and then turn left (west) on NM 22, following the sign to the national monument. Drive another 1.7 miles and turn right (north) on FS 266 (TR 92). A sign alerts you the nm is 4.5 miles ahead. Zero your odometer. The pavement ends as this is the nm boundary.
If coming from the south, take Exit 259 off I-25, and drive 8.8 miles north on NM 22 to the junction with NM 16, and continue on NM 22 as described above.

After leaving NM 22, come to the fee area at 4.5 miles with toilets, picnic tables, and information kiosk with brochures. At mile 5.0, pass the Tent Rocks on your right. At mile 5.3 stay left at the Y junction. With two well-defined switchbacks, the road climbs up to the mesa top at mile 7.6. At mile 8.2 enjoy the views from the Canada Camada Overlook. The road becomes rough after this. At mile 8.3 pass by an iron gate, and at mile 8.8 come to the fenced boundary of the national monument with the Jemez Indian Reservation which is signed No Trespassing. Park here.

Key points along the hike:
0.0   dirt road at boundary
0.1   fence corner highpoint, north of parking area
0.1   minor drainage, south of parking area
0.2   highpoint along fence, south of parking area

The hike:
There are two candidate highpoint areas, one to the left (south) and one to the right (north).
To the right, hike 100 feet along the barbwire fence uphill slightly to a fence corner. The highpoint is left (??) along the fence. There is a break in the fence at the corner. Look for the following three landmarks to confirm your arrival at the highpoint. Notice the two bearing trees. Notice the iron survey post denoting the section corner. Notice the yellow NFS boundary sign and rain gauge. To the left, hike 1,000 feet along the barbwire fence on flat terrain at first, then down into a minor drainage, and finally ascend a visible ridge. The highpoint is along the fence.

About the park:

Camping and services:
Services are available at NM 22 and I-25 Exit 259. No services available at NM 16 and I-25 Exit 264.
There’s a place along NM 22 near FR that looks fun.