Slot Canyon Trail Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 815' 248 m
Descent: -814' -248 m
High: 6,359' 1,938 m
Low: 5,745' 1,751 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)
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“One of New Mexico's "must-do" runs!”— Kristen Arendt
Of the two main trails at this trailhead for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Tocks National Monument, the Cave Loop Trail is the more difficult, but is also the more picturesque. You'll start off running among the Monument's unique tent-shaped hoodoos along a sandy trail, and then enter a narrow, but beautiful, slot canyon.
The canyon then opens up before the trail makes its way steeply up the canyon wall to an overlook of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, and Sandia mountains, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.
A half-mile into the run, you'll arrive at the intersection for the easier Cave Loop Trail to the left. The Canyon Trail continues to the right, and will continue to a narrow slot canyon. This area is quite picturesque, and many visitors will stop and take pictures through this section. Please be courteous to other visitors and allow them to pass in areas that allow. Also, beware of rock falls during wet and windy conditions and the possibility of flash flooding during inclement weather.
Just over a mile into the run, you'll start to climb out of the canyon. The trail gets quite steep with dozens of steps as it switchbacks up the canyon wall. During the warm, summer months, take your time and use caution to avoid heat-related injuries. During the winter, watch for icy conditions in this section. The trail tops out with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and the valley below. You'll return to the trailhead along the same route.
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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: BLM New Mexico - Rio Puerco Field Office