Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Cave Loop Trail

If the steep ascent and dizzying heights of the Canyon Trail cause your courage to waver like the Cowardly Lion, fear not! The Cave Loop Trail (1.2 miles in length) will still provide you with an excellent opportunity to explore Tent Rocks. From the parking lot, you can follow the same trail toward the slot canyon for the first half-mile. Then at the junction, turn left, and you?ll be on your way along fairly level ground to the cave for which this trail is named. Before you arrive at this ancient dwelling, you should notice both the cholla and prickly pear variety of cactus as you walk. Cholla is a tall, ?stick-man? looking cactus with neon pink blooms followed by yellow fruit. Prickly pear is a smaller, ground-level cactus with lots of pads and purple fruit.

Once at the cave, you may wonder why it is so high off the ground. Apparently ancestral Native Americans preferred caves that were above ground level because they stayed dry during storms, were more difficult for animals to enter, and provided a view of the surrounding territory in case of enemy attack. The small size of the cave opening is due to the fact that ancestral Native American adults were shorter in height than they are today. If you climb up to the opening you?ll see smoke stains on the ceiling, a sure-fire indicator that the cave was indeed used by these ancestral peoples. Following your cave visit, complete the loop by descending the trail back down to the parking lot.

Albuquerque Field Office
435 Montano Road NE
Phone: 505-761-8794 ext. 29
Email: [email protected]