If you were just passing through Socorro, New Mexico on I-25 you would never guess that there is a beautiful canyon just miles away hidden by the desert landscape.  San Lorenzo Canyon is just outside of Socorro, about 5 miles northwest of Lemitar. 

San Lorenzo Canyon offers hiking, camping, rock climbing, picnicking, horseback riding and ATVing opportunities.    If you get lucky, maybe you’ll see a bighorn sheep, so keep your eyes open!  New interpretive signs and a new welcome sign were installed within the last year that make the site even more appealing. 

The BLM shares management of San Lorenzo Canyon with the Fish and Wildlife Service and visitors are not allowed on the FWS’ area.  So, make sure to watch for signs.

The Socorro Nature Area is only a few minutes from San Lorenzo Canyon, in the town of Lemitar.   Stop by and visit the nature area while you’re in the area.  There are two interpretive trails, one long and one short trail, that have information about the plant life in the area.  Pick up one of the new trail guide brochures and guide yourself through one of the trails, it’s only a short walk.

Visit the San Lorenzo Canyon website for more information:

For more information on the Socorro Nature Area visit:

Photos and Story: Emilee Cantrell


Today, we add Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area to the Summer Bucket List because it is a place like no other - with recreation opportunities and historical significance above ground and a cave with rare minerals underground.

BLM New Mexico’s Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area has 93 miles of horseback, mountain biking, and hiking trails winding through meadows and canyons for visitors to experience.  Other recreational opportunities are camping, visiting cultural and historic sites, picnicking, hunting, wildlife viewing, nature study, and photography.

The Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave NCA is the only NCA designated as the result of a cave on BLM land, but it’s not only known for its cave.  The surface is popular with equestrians and mountain bikers.  The NCA was established in 2009 and includes about 25,080 acres.

At the NCA visitors can get a glimpse of history and take advantage of great recreational opportunities.  Fort Stanton Cave has over 26 miles of mapped passages (the 20th longest cave in the U.S.)  and is usually open for recreational caving, but because of the threat of White nose Syndrome in Bats it is not allowed right now.  Rio Bonito Petroglyph National Recreation Trail gives visitors the chance to experience petroglyphs from ancient people, the Jornada Mogollon. Historic Fort Stanton, a New Mexico State Monument, is one of the few intact frontier forts in the West. 

Fort Stanton-Snowy River NCA is located between Capitan and Lincoln, New Mexico.  The NCA is free and open year round!

For more information visit the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area website:

You can learn more about the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area on YouTube as well:

By: Emilee Cantrell


Today in our Summer Bucket List series, we take you to the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, managed by BLM New Mexico.  The lands are located in north-central New Mexico between Albuquerque and Santa Fe on the Pajarito Plateau.  As the name implies, Tent Rocks is made up of stunning cone-shaped rock or “tent” formations. 

Two trails are available to get a spectacular view of the tent rocks, Slot Canyon Trail and Cave Loop Trail.  Slot Canyon Trail is the longer of the two.  It is a steep, 1.5 mile long trail to the top, where there is a grand view waiting.  The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long; it is an easier walk that has views of a cave and rock formations.  The Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook also provides beautiful views of vistas, canyons, and mountains.

The monument’s manager, Jackie Leyba, is working hard to make Tent Rocks the best he can for visitors.  The bathrooms are kept clean, the trails are maintained, the rangers are helpful and friendly, and there are projects in the works to make more improvements to the monument.  According to Leyba, the visitors leave great reviews about their experience at the monument.    Nearby the monument, visitors will also find Cochiti Lake, fishing, camping, swimming, hiking, and a golf course. 

During my visit to Tent Rocks, I was fortunate enough to hike the Slot Canyon Trail and the Cave Loop Trail.  I would recommend them both!    I was also able to see the Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook and the serene view it offered.  The scenery and experience was worth braving the hot weather to see.

There were families and groups of all ages visiting Tent Rocks.  One of the Rangers told me about a 96 year old man who climbed to the top of the Slot Canyon Trail.  If he made the trek, I think that means it’s worth a look!

For more information, visit the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument website:

Story and photos by Emilee Cantrell


On today’s Summer Bucket List, we add the Black River Recreation Area for its unique blue waters and rare habitat.

BLM New Mexico’s Black River Recreation Area provides visitors with hiking, fishing, wildlife watching, and picnicking opportunities.  The 1200-acre area is located 26 miles from Carlsbad, New Mexico and near the Carlsbad Caverns.

The Black River is a unique color of blue because of dissolved gypsum.  Not only is the river a unique color, but it is also home to rare plant, fish, and reptile species.

The most frequently visited site is the Cottonwood Day Use Area, with a wildlife viewing platform, picnic tables, and a bathroom.  If you are in the area or visiting Carlsbad Caverns visit the Black River Recreation Area!

For more information visit the Black River Recreation Area website:

By: Emilee Cantrell; photos: Bob Wick


Add BLM New Mexico’s Three Rivers Petroglyph Site to your Summer Bucket List for direct access to a large number and concentration of petroglyphs.  The site, located in New Mexico’s northern Chihuahuan Desert, is one of the largest and most interesting petroglyph sites in the Southwest. 

There are more than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects, and plants as well as geometric and abstract designs that date back to 900 to 1400 AD at the site.  The Jornada Mogollon used stone tools to remove the dark patina on the exterior of the rock to create the rock art.  There is also a small pueblo ruin nearby.

Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, and picnicking at the site.  There are two trails, one trail takes visitors to the most interesting petroglyphs and another trail leads visitors to the remains of a Mogollon village.  Five shelters, two RV campsites, and one group/handicap site are at the Three Rivers site for a fee.  Just 17 miles north of Tularosa and 28 miles south of Carrizozo, visitors can experience an ancient world. 

Visit the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site for more information:

By: Emilee Cantrell; photos:  Donna Hummel


La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site

I took a quick morning trip to La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site to visit the area’s petroglyphs.  The site is beautiful and just minutes from the BLM’s New Mexico State Office and a few miles from Santa Fe.  From the top of the mountain, Santa Fe is visible and has a breathtaking background of blue sky and mountains.

Even though the site is minutes from Santa Fe, I felt like I was far away discovering an ancient civilization.  The petroglyphs are scattered about the site, which is known for the large number of hump-backed flute player images and bird figures.  Most of the petroglyphs were created by the Keresan-speaking puebloan people that lived in the area between the 13th and 17th centuries.

The hike took about an hour and was relatively easy, perfect for a summer morning.

For more information visit the La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site website:

-Photos and story: Emilee Cantrell


My Experience as “Seymour Antelope”

“Seymour Antelope” was introduced as the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management mascot in 2008.  Seymour’s goal is to make young people aware of the importance of connecting with nature and promote programs the BLM has for young people.  He wants families to get out and explore their public lands!

Since Seymour is the ambassador to young people and I am the young person at the office, of course I had to put Seymour on.  I am honored that I had the chance to walk (more like shuffle) in Seymour’s shoes for a few minutes to put a smile on some faces.  It was a fun experience even though it was very hot in the costume.  What I learned during my short time as Seymour is that mascot costumes are hard to put on, hard to walk in, and hard to see out of, but it’s worth it to see one person get excited to see “Seymour Antelope.”

To see Seymour break it down in Carlsbad, New Mexico check out this video:

-Emilee Cantrell