|60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Albuquerque (2nd edition)
53. San Lorenzo Canyon
Cañoncito de las Cabras (1 minute video)
Bonus hike: Detour up a slot just
south of the main canyon:
It seems legit. According to the surface management map below, and
indicated by the green arrow, the the road crosses private land before
reentering Public Land. So it's very clear you should not proceed on the
road beyond this point. Not so clear who pays to maintain this 90-foot road
segment through private land. It's so close to the edge in fact that if you
stuck to the right side of the road, you'd probably never set foot on private
land. But then that might not matter to the landowners if they find you out
there. I haven't met them, but my guess is they wouldn't care about hikers.
New signage near the entry to Cañoncito de las Cabras:
The Box (the red square above): In the book, I suggested climbing over the boulders
on the left side of the box. I recently learned that the path on the right is much easier.
I also mentioned a cave that was "soaking wet inside and the smell is horrendous."
In January 2015, it was bone dry, and the smell was neutral.
The downed fence I mentioned is hard to spot. I'd missed it the first time I'd hiked there.
In fact it's in the vicintity of the "prominent arroyo". About 0.5 mile past that is a ~5-foot
waterfall (indicated by the star on the map above). It's a little difficult to climb without
getting wet; but if you conitinue, the streambed soon forks.
Go left and you'll soon encounter a fence crossing the arroyo. This is probably the
downed fence that I'd heard of "about 0.5 mile past the big arroyo opening on the
left"--except now (as of January 2015) it's quite sturdy, and signage on this fence
indicates that you're on the wrong side of it, so you're already tresspassing in the
wildlife refuge. In any case, I can now say that I made it up that far.
Also worth noting that the entire length of San Lorezon Canyon, including this part with
the fence blocking the way, is just a tiny part of the Grand Enchantment Trail (GET) a
wilderness recreation trail running 770 miles between Albuquerque and Phoenix.
Getting back to the "big arroyo opening on the left": I recently hiked up that one, too.
I didn't encounter any of the steep pour offs I'd heard about. But then I only went 0.25
mile before finding makeshift gravesites for Victor Bustamante and Jaws.
Victor was a resident of Polvadera, a village just off I-25 directly east of San Lorenzo
Canyon. He was born on June 27, 1958, died on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, and is
(supposedly) interred at San Lorenzo Cemetery in Polvadera. My theory is that his
ashes are in the grave under the trees on the left, and that the second grave is for his
dog, Jaws. Just a guess. If anyone knows more about it, please let me know. This
colorful site is well worth the little extra effort it takes to get there. But then so is every
other detour in the canyon.
Finally, lots of recent interpretive signage at both ends of the canyon not only help us
better understand this mystifying environment, but also make it much easier to find.
One more thing, and I'm not sure why I haven't noticed this before, but the map
indicates that shortly past the box, you're either on Sevilleta NWR land, which is strictly
off-limits, or on State Land, which requires a Recreational Access Permit. (Just saying
so because I'm required to point out things like that.)