Emory Pass To San Lorenzo


This tour starts at Emory Pass at the crest of the Black Range and heads west to San Lorenzo on the Mimbres River.  Mile posts (MP) are every mile on this route and start at 0 at the west end of NM-152 near Silver City.  In this tour, MP numbers decrease as you go west.  Intermediate numbers, like 26.9, indicate where the point is between two MPs.  This is rugged country filled with the opportunity for accident and the occasional encounter with a rattlesnake; caution is advised.

MP 31.7

Emory Pass Overlook is at the end of a short road to the north of NM-152.  Emory Pass is 8,828 feet in elevation.  Trails to the north (Hillsboro Peak [10,020 feet in elevation] and beyond) and south (Sawyer’s Peak [9,660 feet in elevation] and beyond) start here.  These trails were heavily burned during the Silver Fire.

The road over Emory Pass was dedicated on August 18, 1938.  Total construction cost was $750,000 over several years.

MP 30.7

Wright’s Cabin is on the right.  This picnic area is at 7,600 feet in elevation.  It has no facilities.  The cabin once found at this site is long since gone.

MP 28.5

Iron Creek Campground is on the left.  As you traveled down from Wright’s Cabin, Iron Creek has been on your left.  This section of road was still under construction in 1934.  NM-152 was paved in the 1950’s.

MP 27.7

Railroad Canyon Campground and Trailhead is on the right.  The campground is small but has an outhouse.  The trail follows Railroad Canyon up slope and offers access to many other trails in the Black Range.  In the first two miles there are a number of stream crossings.  Depending on the time of year, the trail may be impassable because of high water or more or less dry.

MP 26.9

Upper Gallinas Campground is on the right.  This is a fairly large campground, on the order of Iron Creek.  It is right on the highway (as is Iron Creek) so there is (insignificant) traffic noise.

MP 25.5

The rock walls of Gallinas Canyon provide a dramatic gateway to the upper Black Range if you are coming from the west.

MP 25.3

Lower Gallinas Campground is on the left.  This is a fairly large campground with an isolated feel, although it is just off the road.  There are significant numbers of bird species here year around.

MP 15.8

Turn right on Galaz Street for access to the small village of San Lorenzo (population 97 in 2010).  By contrast, the village of Hillsboro, at the other end of the tour, had a population of 124 in 2010, and Kingston had a population of 32.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo was founded as part of the general Hispano expansion southwest from the Rio Grande Valley.  During this expansion: Cañada Alamosa (Monticello) was founded in 1864; Cuchillo Negro (Cuchillo) was founded in 1871; and Mimbres, San Lorenzo (1869), and San Juan were founded along the Mimbres River.

Earlier, in 1714, Governor Juan Ignacio de Flores Mogollón established a settlement here.  By 1853 the place had been given up to the Apaches.  Nothing remains from that period.

Although farming still occurs in the area, it is giving way, increasingly, to second homes and retirees who come to enjoy the solitude, the beauty, and the Gila Cliff Dwellings just up the road.

Silver City is about 15 miles to the west and offers a full range of services.


Watch our video of this road trip on

The Roads of the Black Range

Emory Pass Overlook in Winter
Private memorials and shrines are found throughout New Mexico.  One or more can usually be found at Wright’s Cabin.
Early U.S. Forest Service signage.
Within the human history of this area California Condors and Grizzly Bears inhabited the Black Range.
The Railroad Canyon trail leads to a network of trails which provide a great deal of access to this portion of

the Black Range

The trails and roadsides of this area are  covered in wildflowers and butterflies during moist springs, summers, and falls.
The mountain streams of this area offer welcome relief to wandering inhabitants of the desert.

San Lorenzo

Iron Creek

Emory Pass

Railroad Canyon

Upper Gallinas

Lower Gallinas