Since we decided to come back to San Felipe and not continue further south, I wanted to explore more of the area around here. My cousin Gordy had shown me a copy of his “Baja Adventure Book” back in the early 90’s in Oregon on his way home from another one of his Baja adventures. The pictures and descriptions of this magical place in the desert by the sea captured my imagination. Canon del Diablo was a particularly cool looking place and as it turns out is not too far from San Felipe at the base of Baja’s highest 10,157 ft peak, Picacho del Diablo.
I followed the directions from the book and headed north out of town looking for a road that would take me west to the falls. A gated gringo community had been built since the publication blocking the route described, but I eventually found a newly paved road that soon ended and the fun began.
Part of the trip took me along the San Felipe 250 race course and out to a dry lake bed – Laguna del Diablo.
I eventually made it to the base of the mountain.
From the book description, it didn’t seem like I had found Canon del Diablo, but the giant Cardon cactus and the towering peaks made for an interesting exploration.
As I had no phone service, Internet, or maps of the area on my GPS I opted to not hike any further. I returned back to our San Felipe basecamp and did some more research on the Internet. David Kier and some of the guys on the Baja Nomad forum were very helpful in supplying directions and GPS coordinates. Armed with information I set out the next day to locate the waterfalls.
I once again crossed the race course and went by some of the oddly green colored wrong way signs.
The trailhead starts in an almost manicured looking garden of granite boulders, ocotillos, and cactus. I followed my handheld GPS and a faint trail for about a mile over a hill and into the canyon.
Baja canyons can start out completely dry as any water disappears into the desert sand, but eventually I found the clear waters of the stream and the start of the waterfalls.
The canyon was one of the most beautiful I have hiked.
The last waterfall was accessed with the help of a fixed rope.
The above picture was the next trip when Jaime joined me. We did not attempt to last rope climb as it would have required wading through the ice cold water and somehow getting traction on the smooth granite walls with wet feet or boots. You can download my Garmin gpx or Google Earth kml files for the drive out and hike on my shared drive.
Short video of the hike and waterfalls. Watch in 1080P HD full screen.
The next place recommended by David Kier was the hot springs at Agua Caliente. The trip starts from the same road as the waterfalls but heads south into Valle Chico. The dirt road passes some small ranches and I saw this burro family.
After 40 miles of driving south, you start back towards the mountains. At this point, you will definitely want a high clearance 4×4 vehicle.
Petroglyphs on the rocks next to the canyon.
The road was washed out but probably still doable in the Jeep.
I opted to park and walk up another three miles into the canyon.
More petroglyphs on the way.
Evenventally I did locate some warm running water but the canyon became very overgrown with thorny bushes. The weather was in the high 80’s so I wasn’t exactly looking to plunge in.
Matomi Canyon and wash was another San Felipe 250 spot. I picked up the wash at kilometer 60 south of San Felipe.
After a sandy 24 miles of off-road driving, I decided to park the Jeep as the sand got deeper, the canyon narrowed, and the boulders increased.
The skull was a sign I made the right choice.
Hard to believe you can race through this canyon. According to David Kier there is a waterfall maybe another 4-5 miles west of here. Next time.
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