The Baja Divide is a rugged 1,700 mile off-pavement bikepacking route down the length of the Baja California peninsula, from San Diego, CA, USA to San José del Cabo, BCS, MX, researched and developed by Nicholas Carman and Lael Wilcox in the winter and spring of 2015-16.
This route connects the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, historic Spanish mission sites rich with shade and water, remote ranchos and fishing villages, bustling highway towns, and every major mountain range in Baja California on miles and miles of beautiful backcountry desert tracks. The Baja Divide is a free route resource for anyone to ride at any time, self-supported, and is best enjoyed from November to March, when most off-pavement routes in USA, Canada and Europe are closed for the season.
Life on the Baja Divide is defined by a rhythm of riding, camping, and resupply. Baja California is a mountainous desert and resources are limited, although the route is designed to encounter resupply frequently enough to make a self-supported tour possible. Riders may need to carry up to 2-3 days of food and 10 liters of water. A warm, dry climate minimizes equipment needs. Pack light, and leave room for food and water.
The Baja Divide route utilizes existing roads and tracks, 95% of which are unpaved, ranging from graded dirt roads to rough, sandy jeep tracks. Sandy conditions necessitate wider tires– 3” tires are recommended– while frequent cactus thorns necessitate a tubeless wheel system.
The Baja Divide is a very strenuous ride that requires a high level of fitness, do not underestimate the difficulty of this route.
Backcountry touring experience is recommended. GPS navigation is required. Some backcountry routes may become impassible when wet.
Baja California is a safe place to travel, and has welcomed adventurers from around the world for decades. It is not essential that you speak Spanish to travel in Mexico, especially in Baja, although any effort to speak the language will enrich your experience in the country.
Three airports serve Baja California Sur in Loreto, La Paz, and San José del Cabo. Daily northbound and southbound bus service is available from most larger towns along MEX1, making a return to Tijuana uncomplicated. Several ferries are available from La Paz to the mainland, connecting to Topolobampo and Mazatlán. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, the EU, and most South American countries are allowed visa-free access to Mexico for 180 days, although a small fee is required for visits longer than 7 days, paid at the border. This informal “tourist visa” is about $20.
The Baja Divide is a free resource and is open to ride at any time, self-supported. Enjoy and buen viaje!