It was still pretty early in the morning (before 9am), so the lighting in the slot canyon made photography challenging. My favorite part of the hike was watching the sun rise over the slot canyon wall. There were plants at the top that were literally glowing!
Towards the end of the slot canyon, there are some sections that require hands and some light scrambling up rocks to continue the hike. Nothing too challenging. I saw little children doing it on my way back down. This is also when I started climbing in elevation. This section maybe took me a half hour or so (I wasn't keeping track so this is not precise), and I made sure to keep turning around because the views were better behind me.
I took the Cave Loop the other way (turning right to continue the loop from where I left it earlier) to complete the loop. My advise to other people heading to Tent Rocks: do the slot canyon and the vista! The cave was cool and you can see the tent rocks all around you on the Cave Loop, but I definitely think the slot canyon is the main attraction here.
By the time I was done with this hike (around 11:30am), it would have been difficult to take pictures without people in them. This is a popular day trip for people from Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I highly recommend getting there early, so you can have the place to yourself like I did.
I didn't let the fact that I got a flat tire on Hwy 16 on the way home and waited 2 hours in the middle of nowhere for a AAA person to show up and change it for me ruin this pleasant Saturday excursion. It's a spiritual place, especially when you feel like you are the only one there.