Hike of the Week: San Lorenzo Canyon

As 2020 comes to a close, I want to wish you a Happy Holiday and New Year as we look with optimism toward 2021. I hope that you have some time off to rest and restore you body and mind from what has been a very challenging year. There’s virtually no better way to reset your spirit than to get out into nature and enjoy the beauty of the Land of Enchantment. Sierra Club outings are cancelled through February 28th and so we want to offer this do-it-yourself outing to help you start 2021 off on the right foot.

Terry Sierra Owen, Club-Rio Grande Chapter-Outings Chairman

San Lorenzo Canyon

As winter sets-in perhaps you’re searching for an easy day-trip where you can get you, your kids or anyone else in your bubble, out of the house for a few hours and get some exercise. This outing checks all three boxes. This canyon is typically sheltered from winds and there’s adequate sunshine to keep you warm on chilly winter days. Because it’s an out-and-back route, you can make it as long or as short of a hike as you’d like. There are numerous hoodoos and rock features that will spark your imagination and give you a sense of awe and wonder in a secluded area.

Location: Socorro area
Difficulty: Easy, 2-3 miles, 50 feet of elevation gain, out & back
Hiking time: 2-3 hours
Cost: $0
Dogs: Allowed on leash
Camping: Dispersed camping is permitted per BLM. There are no toilets or water available.
Map: BLM, San Lorenzo Canyon | Explore NM, San Lorenzo Canyon | All Trails

The Hike: After parking your vehicle along a canyon wall out of the way of other vehicles, proceed on foot down the canyon. Hike down the main canyon and veer off into the slot canyons that punctuate the main canyon walls and see what awaits. Many of these slot canyons dead-end after several hundred yards and are perhaps where you’ll find the most interesting geologic formations and serenity. Wandering is encouraged. The main canyon will pass some stands of cottonwoods and brush and will eventually come to the end of the canyon where you can reverse course and return to your vehicle.

Pro Tip: Take a picnic lunch, beverages and some camp chairs and enjoy a fancy holiday tailgate buffet.

To Get There: A vehicle with slightly higher clearance than the typical car is recommended such as an SUV or pickup. From I-25 South, take exit 163 at San Acacia. Turn left, cross over the interstate then turn right and go 2.3 miles south on the frontage road. Turn right onto C94, or shown as B90 on some maps. The route number is not marked but you’ll see a one-lane underpass, so turn right and drive thru the underpass. When the pavement ends, continue straight west 2 miles on the main dirt road and you’ll be tending to the north. There will be a sign on the left that describes the canyon. You’ll reach a Y and you’ll bear right at the Y and follow the road up the hard-packed stream bed 2.5 miles and tending northwest. Following that stream bed will lead you to the mouth of the canyon. You’ll begin to see steep walls on each side and you can stop and begin walking or drive farther into the canyon and park. There isn’t a marked trailhead or parking area.

Stay healthy!

Hike of the Week: San Lorenzo Canyon