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New Hike: Bay of Concepcion Pinuras
From Loreto head North towards Mulege, at KM Marker 74 turn right on a dirt track. Set your odometer to zero. Follow the dirt track past a ranch. Stay Right at .8 on the main road. You will eventually come down to the water. At 3.7 (26.556746, -111.681772) stay Left. Follow the track along the water past several fish camps. The road deteriorates a bit, but is passable. At mile 9.9 (26.62445, -111.710995) turn right on a less traveled track, there will be 3 large cactus on the right and sometimes a cairn. This track will wander in and out of small arroyos and through brush and cactus for an additional 1.5 miles. If you don't want any " Baja Racing Stripes " park where you can, and walk. At 1.5 miles from the turn you will enter an obvious canyon with a nice sandy bottom. If you are still driving park here. Immediately you will see pinturas on both canyon walls, some are faint and not easy to find. Continue leisurely up the canyon finding more and more cave paintings. When you reach a small cliff band, those with the skills can continue, by easily climbing the cliff. Remember, down climbing on the return is more difficult. There are a Few more pinturas above. Another cliff band will be encountered and can be ascended. When reaching a third larger cliff, most will choose to return, it can be ascended by backtracking a bit and climbing the hillside on the left. The arroyo above this cliff is fairly uninteresting, but continues for several miles.
New Hike: Nopolo Canyon
A nice hike across a pleasant plateau to an arroyo and several canyons. The first mile or so are flat and easy, once in the arroyo, footing becomes less stable the further up you travel.
Drive a short distance past the entrance for Loreto Bay
and turn right at the the PTAR sign. Drive 4 tenths, turn right on dirt road (don't go straight to where the painted white rocks are). The dirt road will pass the right side of the water treatment plant, when you reach the end turn left behind the plant and park in an obvious parking area on the left by the man made ponds. The ponds have walking trails around them and are a great spot to bird watch early in the morning or at dusk. To get to the canyon walk about 50 yards south until there is an obvious trail/cow trail crossing the arroyo, take this trail and after crossing, stay left until you reach an old road. Go right heading towards the power line, once you reach the power line, stay right following the power line past one tower. Go left on an obvious old road heading towards the mountains. Follow this until you reach a good road (This is a Fonatur road that accesses water wells) Go right, then immediately left at the end of a fence at an old roadway. Follow this as in winds pleasantly through the desert with fine views of Loreto Bay. The road will eventually end at a T, left goes to an abandoned sistern, going right drops down into the arroyo on a good trail. Continue up the arroyo exploring as far as you wish to go. There are several side canyons along the way worth exploring also. Return the way you came.
New Hike: Little Mezquite Canyon
A fun canyon with an abundance of caves, boulder hopping and good mineral collecting.
Drive south on Highway 1 to the left hand turn for Villa Palmar, take this exit and then turn right under the bridge. Follow the arroyo for about 8 tenths ,you should see a canyon appearing on your left. (if you reach the pumping station, you've gone too far) Turn left on a faint track and quickly left again, then right around an island of trees and shrubs. Park in the shaded area on the left where the small arroyo heads south through a nice grove of Palo Blanco trees. Follow the arroyo as it winds pleasantly along. Soon the boulders become larger and then larger still. You will come to several apparent dead ends, but with some exploring you'll be able to climb, squirm and spelunk your way through. After passing the “Wall of Holes” make your way to the base of the big fig tree up and to the right and then move ahead the easiest way. The large caves down to the left of the tree offer some great exploring and an alternative way through. Eventually you will reach a headwall, and a pool of varying size dependent upon recent rainfall. Most will turn around here. The wall can be surmounted, but it is difficult and climbing skills are helpful, and the return climb down is very difficult without a rope.
New Hike: San Javier Wash-Amphitheater Amble
Now that you've seen the three hundred year old olive tree and mission, are you ready for something more? Don't let the relatively short distance of this hike fool you. It is steep and challenging. The rewards are unique views of the Mission, town, and San Javier valley, along with fascinating rock layers and formations and a huge amphitheater home to ancient fig trees. When entering San Javier do not turn right at the Jesuit cross. Instead continue straight to the next street, turn right and look for the gap in the fence on the left about fifty yards from where you turned. Park, walk through the gap, cross the stream and follow the well-worn and marked trail, taking heed of the signs warning of rattlesnakes. Follow the trail until it ends. To reach the amphitheater, drop down and right into the arroyo and continue up stream to the large amphitheater. Return the way you came or stay in the wash and start boulder hopping back down to town.
Don't forget to take plenty of water as the arroyo can become very hot in the mid-day sun.
New Hikes in Emerald City
This area has always been a favorite of Ed's, and with the help of our friends Leslie and Said, they have explored several off shoot canyons that are quite nice and fun to explore.
Caution: Access to this cañon requires negotiating the waterfall in Emerald City. Please refer to its description before attempting this Hike.
Boulder hopping, a giant gray cliff, rich ruby colored walls, this is an inviting canyon to wander and marvel. The canyon meanders generally southeastwards toward the divide between its drainage and the Prima Agua drainage. The elevation gain is gentle but constant and can be measured by the subtile variations in the plant life. Rich colors and unique rock formations reveal themselves at every turn. A breathtaking gray intrusion bisects the canyon a short distance from its confluence with Emerald City.
To get there, follow the directions for Emerald City. When you reach the waterfall climb up on the left and continue upstream approximately .4 of a mile until you reach the obvious confluence on the left side. Proceed up stream. Shortly you will come to the prominent gray wall. It can be surmounted by locating and following a faint path on the right side that climbs a short steep section and crosses a fence. Once on top, take a second to look over the edge and to admire the rounded spouts carved by sand, rocks and water. Continue upstream as the canyon widens and narrows. If it has rained, you will be treated to small waterfalls. Continue as far as you like, or use StoryBook Overlook as a destination. Return the same way you came. The views on the return are as rewarding as on the way in.
Story Book Canyon and Overlook
This can be a good turn around place for Ruby Slipper or a short diversion if you want to continue your exploration of Ruby Slipper. It is a short, but rewarding climb up a small arroyo to its collection basin. A short scramble up the ridge to the left offers a vista of the canyon system and rugged mountains.
This cañon gets its name from the distinctive rock formation at its confluence with Ruby Slipper. It is the second side-cañon on the left, walking upstream, after you pass the huge gray wall in Ruby Slipper and about a quarter of a mile past the wall. At its confluence with Ruby Slipper there is a red wall made up of layer after layer of sandstone so that it resembles pages of a book. This wall will be to your left as you look up the side-canyon. Start walking. The side-canyon climbs easily for several hundred yards until it branches into a web of shallow channels that form the source for the side-canyon. Follow the left channel and climb a few feet to the ridge for a storybook view.
Approximately three miles from the start of Emerald City, and past the large waterfall, there is a small but charming canyon to the right. It ascends very quickly through a series of sandstone steps with waterfalls and pools, in season. The narrow cañon twists and climbs through steep walls. It's a pleasant diversion from the wide flat upper reaches of Emerald City.
New Hike: Damnation Gully
This is an interesting Canyon and steep gully that gives you the option to top out on one the lesser front range summits with outstanding views of Puerto Escondido and the Islands. Named for the classic Ice climb on New Hampshire's Mount Washington, you may wish you had an ice axe and crampons for the final gully! The upper parts have some loose rock and insecure footing, sturdy hiking shoes are highly recommended. Take the same turn off Hwy 1 as for Tabor, when the road reaches the T, turn left. As of this writing there is active construction on the huge spillway leading out of Tabor Canyon. Park at the end of the spillway where you will not be in the way of any construction vehicles. Either cross the spillway to an old road that parallels the spillway or follow the construction road to where the concrete ends. At about this point look for a cairn and trail that leads to the west to the arroyo that drains the northwest facing arroyo (if you miss the cairn, don't fret, the arroyo will soon appear on your right). Follow the arroyo over increasingly large boulders up into the canyon. At one point you will reach what appears to be a dead end, this can be ascended with minimal difficulty on the left hand side. Shortly after you will reach a junction with a small steep gully ascending to the right and on the left an enormous overhanging cave and a huge chockstone wedged high above you. From here head up the smaller gully to the right, the scrambling gets a bit rough with loose rock and insecure footing. Scramble up and squeeze under a small chockstone to the top of the gully where you can exit to the right. Follow cairns and ribbons to the top of the ridge where the views are excellent. You will be rewarded even more as you head higher. It is possible to continue scrambling and bushwhacking up to the north and then west until until you reach a rocky outcrop and more great views. Make sure you note which way you came up, and build cairns or leave ribbons if necessary. it can be somewhat confusing coming back down.