November to March is the best time to ride. Winter in Baja is characterized by warm days and cool nights. Exposure to both sun and heat is lessened during these months, water needs are manageable, and most snakes and scorpions remain out of sight. Almost the entire peninsula is an arid or semi-arid desert. The northern state, Baja California, features a Mediterranean climate which receives more moisture during winter months, while the Pacific coast is cooler during most of the year. Pine forests are found in the mountains at higher elevations, and the Pacific coastal plain supports large agricultural operations growing tomatoes, brussel sprouts, tomatillos, and strawberries. Baja California Sur is hot and dry most of the year.
Warning: Many tracks on the Baja Divide may be impassible when wet!
Summers in Baja are very hot. Tropical cyclones provide most of the rain to Baja California Sur during late summer, from August through October. At any time of year, warmer temperatures are found on the eastern side of the peninsula, along the Sea of Cortez, while cooler temperatures prevail along the Pacific. Much of the eastern side of the peninsula exists in a rain shadow, and receives little precipitation. Minimal camping equipment and clothing will suffice on the Baja Divide, a benefit which is balanced by the need to carry up to 2-3 days of food and 10L of water.
Due to prevailing winds from the north and west, we recommend riding the Baja Divide from north to south. Winds can be very strong. During our three month investigative ride in 2015, we were propelled by tailwinds more often than not, and the same was true on our 2011 tour.
The best time of year to begin the route may be November or December to get through the northern mountains before freezing nights arrive early in the year. By the time you arrive in the south in January, daytime temperatures would be pleasant– hot, but not extreme. By April, much of Baja is racing towards summer. At any time, the route may become impassable when wet due to mud.
The inaugural group start on the route is scheduled for January 2, 2017, to allow riders to finish before March when daytime temperatures begin to rise in the south. However, the risk this time of year are cold nights in the first few weeks, including lightly freezing nights, cool and wet days along the Pacific, and even a light chance of snow. With luck, the air will be cool and clear, with abundant sun allowing t-shirts during the day. Long winter nights provide ample time to rest and recover from a day of riding.