San Lorenzo Canyon, NM EV Travel Guide

Last Updated 4/30/24

Tucked into the hills east of Interstate 25 and north of Socorro, New Mexico, there’s a really cool place that most people don’t know about. It’s a place where you can drive a car into some beautiful, narrow sandstone canyons, some not much wider than your vehicle. There are opportunities for hiking, camping, rock climbing, stargazing, and just seeing some nice scenery (and photographing it, of course).

The good news: just about any EV can make it out there! The road is well-maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s dirt, but four wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and high clearance are not needed at all except after large thunderstorms wash the road out. It’s also only about 20 miles from the nearest chargers in Socorro, so range shouldn’t be much of a worry, either.

A prominent sandstone formation near the entrance to the canyon that has resisted erosion better than most others.

There is no fee to enter the area, but you’re limited to 14 days of camping like most other BLM lands. There are no restrooms, showers, garbage receptacles, water, or any other kind of RV hookups, but there are level spots on both sides of the road in the canyon. Be sure to pack out anything you pack in. There is no restriction on leashed pets in the area, either.

Here are some photos of a Kia EV9 entering and leaving the “Round Room”, a small, narrow side canyon that you can drive into:

Getting There In An EV

If you can get your EV to Socorro, New Mexico, you can get to San Lorenzo Canyon. Socorro has Tesla Superchargers (V3 open to compatible non-Tesla EVs) and a ChargePoint CCS/CHAdeMO station. You’ll only need about 40 miles of range to get there and back to Socorro, but if you leave with 80 miles of range on the display, you will have no range anxiety. Charge your vehicle more if you want to use it as a power source for camping in the canyon.

The only “gotcha” is that Google Maps does not currently show the road into the area. Here’s how you get there: start by heading to 34.22300232448997, -106.92220986838895 . To get there, drive north on I-15 to the Lemitar exit, go under the highway to the west frontage road, and follow it until the frontage road ends. This is where the dirt road starts.

Two miles in, turn left and cross a cattleguard. Stay on the main dirt road until you find yourself in the canyon. The dirt road eventually reaches a dead end, but there’s plenty of space to turn around.

Here are some aerial photos of the canyon and the road leading to it:

Links To Further Information About The Area

Here’s a great video about San Lorenzo Canyon:

All images by Jennifer Sensiba.