Vacationers looking for rugged and beautiful places to explore will find plentiful natural parks and landmarks located in Baja California and the northwest region of Mexico. These areas are especially suited for hiking enthusiasts who want to wander off the beaten path to discover breathtaking views interspersed along rough-hewn trails. Mountainous terrain combines with shorelines of both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.
The Baja Peninsula is a magnificent area that combines both desert and shoreline in a rugged blend. Along the eastern shores of the Baja Peninsula, the Sea of Cortez meets the land. On the western border of the peninsula lies the Pacific Ocean. Along this side of the peninsula, the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range provides plenty of opportunity for hikers to explore the craggy terrain. Spectacular rock colors are a hallmark of the mountains of the Baja Peninsula. La Trinidad sits about 20 miles southwest of Mulege, and it features colorful rock paintings. Hikers can reach the paintings by trekking over short trails with the help of a guide, due to the federal protection status of these areas. For those seeking a challenge, the Picacho del Diablo is the highest peak on the Baja Peninsula, and it rises more than 3,000 meters into the air. Most hikers take three days to reach this summit.
Ensenada is located just over the U.S./Mexico border in the northwestern region of the Baja Peninsula. Wine connoisseurs flock to this area because of its wine-producing valley. There's more to Ensenada than just wine, though. Small mountain ranges in the area provide ample opportunities for hiking and exploring. A quiet Pacific inlet also provides beaches that are perfect for camping.
Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point, sits pristinely on the shore of the Sea of Cortez. The Pinacate Biosphere Reserve is a hot spot for visitors wishing to explore the rugged terrain. Millions of years ago, melted rock created huge subterranean pools of very hot liquid. Gradually, this liquid generated strong pressure underneath the surface of the earth. Eventually, the pressure led to great explosions, which created distinctive terrain visible along the shores of Rocky Point. Hikers can explore craters, lava tubes, and cinder cones for miles.
Mexico is also the home of Copper Canyon, which covers more than 25,000 square miles of land. The canyon features six different rivers, each with numerous tributaries that snake throughout the terrain. More than 20 individual canyons make up Copper Canyon proper. Hikers have plentiful options for discovering beauty in the canyon, with waterfalls, uplands, lowlands, and verdant vegetation that varies according to different elevations. A railroad system winds its way through the canyon, offering tourists the ability to tour the area by train. Many visitors like to ride the train and get off at various points along the way to hike and explore the canyon.
Casas Grandes is a historical valley located in the Chihuahuan desert. Visitors can marvel at the ancient adobe structures that have been excavated in this area. The Rio Casas Grandes flood plain is the location of Paquime, the town that housed the adobe structures. After exploring the ruins, hikers can take rugged trails that wind in and out of woodlands. Scenic vistas reward hikers with majestic views of the Papigochi River. Eagle Cave, Serpent's Cave, and Mogollon Cave line the trail, giving visitors the opportunity to delve into these dwellings that actually contain multiple rooms.
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