Tent Rocks National Monument is one of many attractions that can be seen while camping at Pinon RV Park
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
The 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. The National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.
The cone shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”
A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos, which may range from 1.5 to 45 metres (4.9 to 147.6 ft), typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.
The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion within the Jemez Volcanic Field that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of softpumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks, and vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.
The monument is open for day use only and may be closed by order of the Cochiti Pueblo Tribal Governor. A 1.2 mile (1.9 km) recreation trail leads up through a slot canyon to a lookout point where the tent rocks may be viewed from above. A 1.3 mile (2 km) loop trail leads past their base. The park is located on the Pajarito Plateau between 5700 and 6400 feet (1737–1951 m) above sea level. The monument is closed to dogs.