12-16: Missions

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Bahía Concepción is a highlight for any Baja traveler.  The Baja Divide, if the situation allows, provides a unique perspective from a little-used dirt road on the other side of the bay.

The Missions segment of the Baja Divide is 555 miles (893.2 km) from San Ignacio, BCS, MX to La Paz, BCS, MX. Mountain roads through the Sierra La Giganta connect historic Spanish mission sites and communities in San Ignacio, Mulegé, San José de Comondú, San Javier, San Luis Gonzaga, and La Paz. Nearly every mission is founded around an oasis where date palms and fresh water are present– a stark contrast to the vast arid desert.

Short detours off the Baja Divide also connect missions in Loreto, San Miguel de Comondú, and La Purisíma. The Baja Divide track south of Mulegé requires a boat ride across Bahía Concepción to a remote beach and a faint dirt road on the east side of the bay. The boat ride is weather dependent and must be negotiated with local fishermen, who operate small open bow fiberglass boats called pangas. As an alternate to the boat ride across the bay, paved MEX1 follows the western shore of Bahía Concepción and reconnects to the main route at El Rosarito, an active truck stop along the highway.

From El Rosarito the route returns to the mountains, connecting the missions at La Purisima (off route), Comondú, and San Javier, using a series of rocky storm-damaged roads and passing a number of canyons with regular surface water. The ride from San Javier to Ciudad Constitución uses a damaged route which can be both rocky and sandy, not unlike the climb from La Ballena to San Miguel.

Crossing the Sierra de la Giganta for the final time from the industrial commercial hub of Ciudad Constitución to colorful cosmopolitan La Paz is a highlight. The ride begins dry, dusty and hot, slowly climbing to the a high point at a rocky pass before plummeting back to the Sea of Cortez. Spectacular pink and green rock layers punctuate the ride down the coast and into La Paz.

Airports at Loreto and La Paz serve as access points to the Missions segment. Long distance buses are available in San Ignacio, Mulegé, Loreto, Ciudad Constitución, and La Paz.

Warning: The route may become impassable when wet due to mud.

View the Missions on Ride With GPS.

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12/San Ignacio to El Dàtil

13/El Dàtil to Mulegé

14/Mulegé to El Rosarito

15/El Rosarito to Ciudad Constitución

16/Ciudad Constitución to La Paz

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Resupply legend: F-Food store, f-limited food resupply, W-Water, M-Motel, C-Campground, R-Restaurant, B-Bike shop, $-Bank ATM, Bus, Airport