San Lorenzo is the highest peak of La Rioja, an autonomous region of northern Spain mainly known because of the wines produced there. It's placed in the Sierra de la Demanda, which is a massif belonging to the wider Sistema Ibérico and placed south of the mid course of the Ebro River. The northern slopes of the Sierra de la Demanda are the host for part of the way to Santiago and offer some magnificent villages with beautiful buildings. Visiting these villages and giving a try to local gastronomy constitute an ideal complement to the climb of San Lorenzo.
As a whole, the Sierra de la Demanda is not a difficult massif. Rounded mountains are the rule, and climbs are usually just a walk-up matter. What about the bad news? The easiest route from Valdezcaray goes alongside the slopes of a ski resort, and the area is not exactly a virgin mountain...
Though different routes lead to the top of San Lorenzo, the main ones start from the village of Ezcaray or from the snow resort of Valdezcaray (on the north slopes of the peak). Approach to this area has necessarily to be made via Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Santo Domingo stands on road N-120, between the province capitals of Logroño and Burgos (some 45 km west of Logroño and 70 km east of Burgos). From Santo Domingo, it's a further 13-km drive south towards Ezcaray. If you want to get to the ski resort for whatever reason, follow the signs to Posadas and Valdezcaray (look for them to your left shortly after entering Ezcaray). The road to the ski resort goes uphill for an additional 13 km.
No need for any permits nor special rules to be followed. You should nevertheless consider that during the ski season the parking lot (not a huge one!) at Valdezcaray can get crowded quite early in the morning. Drive up early in order to have a free spot to leave your car.
When To Climb
Most climbs take place in summer or autumn time, but winter conditions can make it much more interesting. Nevertheless, DO NOT
try a winter climb unless you have enough experience and adequate materials and clothing. Crampons and ice axe are absolutely mandatory in winter conditions.
A couple of camping areas are available some kilometers away from the village of Ezcaray. One of them is placed at Castañares de Rioja, 22 km north from Ezcaray, and another one at Bañares (16 km towards Logroño). See the links section for info on these camping areas at the web page of Ezcaray (spanish language only, keep calling in just in case for I will try to find something in english). You will also find contact details on hostels ("Albergues") and other cheap lodgings. This includes some mountain huts, one of them placed at Valdezcaray itself (Albergue de montaña Rehoyo)