5/Colonet to Vicente Guerrero

Distance: 70 mi (112.7 km)

Notes: resupply in Colonet is essential, ride the sandy arroyo from Ejido Benito Juárez up to elevation, paid camping and rustic lodging at El Coyote and Rancho Meling, technical doubletrack after Rancho Meling, FASS Bike in Vicente Guerrero is the best shop on route

Resupply: Colonet-FWMR Bus, Ejido Benito Juárez-fW, Rancho El Coyote-WMCR, Rancho Meling-WMCR, Vicente Guerrero-FWMCRB$ Bus

Follow paved MEX1 for a half mile south of Colonet before turning left onto a wide, graded dirt road which serves a series of large farms. Ejido Benito Juárez, about ten miles from Colonet, features a small yet well-stocked store and is the final resupply before entering the backcountry. The route continues through a steep-sided valley, crossing a fresh water stream several times. The climb to Rancho El Coyote begins in a broad valley, then steeply up to elevation along a series of switchbacks to a high point providing your first big views of the Sierra San Pedro Mártir. The route continues atop a series of ridges on rough roads before reaching a second high point at a place called Buenavista, very near Rancho El Coyote, which offers camping and lodging in a relaxed environment, along with prepared food, cold beer, and an unheated swimming pool with spectacular views.

Rancho Meling is about five miles further along the route via a graded dirt road, at the intersection with the paved road which leads to the observatory and the highest peak in Baja.  Rancho Meling is a backcountry touristic estate much like El Coyote, but with a more developed, upscale flavor. Both ranches are owned by members of the Meling family. El Coyote is less expensive, offers camping for about $10 on site (including washrooms, wifi, pool), feels more remote, and is a very nice place to spend a night. Rancho Meling is larger with rooms starting at $70 for 2 people, a swimming pool, a dining room, and camping. A few packaged foods may be available at each ranch, although you should plan to carry food from Colonet to Vicente Guerrero. Free camping is appropriate before El Coyote and several miles after Rancho Meling.

The route away from Rancho Meling utilizes little used 4×4 roads at the permission of the Meling family, so please be courteous when passing through the area. The roads climb steeply, descend sharply, and are heavily eroded in places. Coming through a small pass, the track connects with a slightly larger road and begins the long descent to Vicente Guerrerro. The final miles include a network of tracks in the arroyo, leading to the edge of town. The bustling highway town of Vicente Guerrero is a mile to the west and features several motels, numerous grocery stores, banks, eateries, and the best bike shop between Ensenada and La Paz. Any and all bike related things should be dealt with at FASS Bike. Salvador at FASS Bike is on Warmshowers.org and regularly assists cyclists. One of the nicest singletrack centers along the Baja Divide route is just east of town along a portion of the track.

Next section: Vicente Guerrero to Nueva Odisea