Don and I spent over a week exploring San Lorenzo Canyon, just 15 miles north of Socorro, NM. Located on BLM land along the southern edge of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in the Chihuahuan Desert, the ancient canyon sits on top of the Rio Grande Rift, an area of geologic upheaval & volcanism. It consists of a maze of massive rock formations, hoodoos, neolithic caves, and slot canyons from which to explore. The canyon formed less than 1 million years ago, but it cuts through sedimentary and volcanic rock layers that are almost 32 million years old. From Lemitar, you must cross several winding roller coaster arroyos to get to the Canyon. The BLM suggests having a 4x4 vehicle - but the Blue Goose had no problem making it to the end of the Canyon.
Camping in the canyon is Pack it In - Pack it out, and there is a 14 day stay limit as with most places. If you are going to stay for any length of time, make sure to take plenty of water with you. Don and I normally pack in 20-30 gallons of water with us when we are camping out in the boonies. We managed to find a nice shady oasis near the end of the box canyon that served as a base from which to explore the canyon.
This is the perfect time of the year to visit, as temps rarely got above the low 80’s while we were there. If you are looking for a nice, quiet secluded spot with little traffic, this is not the place. The canyon is quite popular with ATVers and horsemen, and on the weekends is generally filled with campers and hikers. While camping in the Canyon, I went on several hikes and took lots of pictures which I will be publishing in future posts.
Just before you reach the main canyon, you will see this massive Mesa which is over 10 million years old. The horizontal top layer was laid down only 500,000 years ago.
As far as beautiful canyons go, it really doesn't get any better than this.
The end of the canyon beyond which you cannot drive,
The rock formation directly above our campsite - looking directly up at it from its base, it reminded me of a giant statue of Buddha.