14/Mulegé to El Rosarito

Distance: 61 mi (98.2 km)

Notes: arrange a boat ride from local fishermen across Bahía Concepción to Los Hornitos, the road on the east side of the bay is very seldom used and is extremely faint at the north end, 3” tires recommended, wild camping on the east side of Bahía Concepción, MEX1 is an easy alternative, no resupply at San Sebastián, San Nicolás has a small government store, El Rosarito is a busy roadside eatery and tiendita

Resupply: Mulegé-FWMCR$ Bus, San Nicolás-fW, El Rosarito-fWR

This section is one of the most unique opportunities on the Baja Divide, but is only accessible with some work and luck. When mapping the route in the spring of 2016, we couldn’t help but notice the road listed on our map on the far side of Bahía Concepción. We inquired: “Does it exist? Is it a hard surface?” The answers we got were inspiration enough to hire a local fisherman to take three riders and three bikes across the bay– a distance of about 8 miles– to try to ride the road on the other side. What we found was a faint wandering track by the sea, often intersecting the gravelly highwater mark on the beach, but the track improved and widened as we went south. By the time we reached the south end of Bahía Concepción, we’d passed several seasonal fish camps and the road was good and hard. So, if you are willing to negotiate a ride with a fisherman in the local fleet, to pay to get across the water, and haul a bunch of food and water on a faint track by the sea, the ride on the other side of the bay is something few bikes have traveled. The views and the camping are supreme.

The details of catching a ride are as follows: Go to the fisherman’s beach by continuing south out of Mulegé on MEX1 until you reach a small collection of businesses on the right, and a neighborhood with a church on the left. Turn left and continue past the church down to the water, turn right along the water to the collection of fiberglass boats, known as pangas. Fishermen tend to go out early in the morning, return late morning or early afternoon, and in some cases they go out again in the late afternoon or early evening. Daily winds tend to be strongest after noon, around 1-2PM. Consistent winds may keep fishermen off the water for days. Additionally, there is no fixed rate for such a ride and the concept may still confuse some people. If the fishing is good, you should expect that some fishermen will be unwilling to take you across, especially if your request doesn’t coincide with their schedule. In which case, arrive early in the day, be clear that you want to cross to the other side of Bahía Concepción to a place called Los Hornitos. Expect to pay about $20 per person and consider organizing several people to cross together. Realize that at this time we are trying to establish a precedent that makes the crossing worthwhile for both riders and fishermen.

There are no services on the other side until you reach San Nicolás, which is possible in one day if you start very early. Otherwise, be sure to load up on extra water if crossing in the evening.

You will likely be dropped off near “Los Hornitos”, at the sandy beach in a bay just south of a fish camp near the point. If you walk/ride south along the beach there is a sandy wash which looks like it might be a track and may not show signs of use. At the north end of the peninsula, it is ATV width and very sandy. Low tire pressure will be required for this section. Continuing south for about 0.5mi, turn left up a wash and stay to the right side. As you near the base of the mountains there is a rough track leading out of the wash to the south. Climb out of the wash onto a rough, but more clearly defined track. A track will be apparent from this point onward, although it may lead onto the beach at times, and will remain soft for the next 10 miles. Further south, you will see several fish camps which may or may not be in use.

At the south end of the bay, a road leads over to the coast to a collection of upscale homes at San Sebastián. No resources are available here. Instead, amidst the palm trees of the farm before the beach, turn up a steep doubletrack to ride along the coast for about 5 miles to San Nicolás. There, a small store is open with limited hours. Another ten mile ride returns to MEX1 at El Rosarito where an active restaurant, particularly popular with truckers and long-distance travelers, is open from early until late, serving food, beer, and some packaged snacks to go. While there are relatively frequent resupply points between Mulegé and Ciudad Constitución, most are small shops with limited supply and variety. Mulegé is the last place to get specialty goods before Constitución.

Bahía Concepción alternate: If weather prohibits crossing the bay, if no one will take you, or if you don’t feel like negotiating a ride in Spanish, the alternate route follows MEX1 down the west side of Bahía Concepción, which we consider to be the best section of the entire highway, passing sandy white beaches, small seasonal ex-pat communities and even a few small resources. Rejoin the route about 10 miles south of Bahía Concepción at the small roadside restaurant/truck stop El Rosarito.

Next Section: El Rosarito to Ciudad Constitución