Our first full day in Santa Fe was spent outside of it exploring Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and Old Town Albuquerque. This post will only cover the time we spent at Kasha-Katuwe and I will write about our time in the towns of Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos later this week.
Kasha-Katuwe is an easy 30 minute drive from Santa Fe and we were up and out early to get our hiking in before the temperatures reached their forecast highs into the 90’s. Arriving shortly before 10:00, we easily found parking close to the trail head and set out with water and cameras in hand.
Meaning “white cliffs” in the language of the Pueblo, these rock formations are the result of volcanic eruptions eons ago and the ongoing process of erosion. They are amazingly beautiful and a fine example of the type of landscape you would expect to see in the Southwest. Walking through them you are struck at how harsh an environment this is and it is hard not to marvel at the tree and plant life that survive under these conditions.
We chose the Cave Loop Trail and the Slot Canyon Trail to meander our way through this park. The Cave Loop Trail offers more expansive views of the area with very little in the way of shade. The Slot Canyon Trail is exactly what it sounds like – a slot of a trail (sometimes only one person wide) in a canyon of towering rocks. Along this trail, shaded by the rocks we walked, scrambled, and climbed as we gaped on the scene before and above us. I will admit that we did not make it to the end of this trail which required a 700’ elevation change so we did not have the view from the top but none of us left disappointed. What we saw was “enchanting” and a wonderful start to our few days here.