Hiking Adventures in Los Cabos

BY RICK CASTAGNER

Most of these hikes are near the ocean thus can be taken all year. The ocean breeze is cooling and the views are awesome.

The best time to hike the interior hikes is during the months directly following the rainy season, which usually ends in October.

At this time of year, you’ll be offered an incredible sight of the desert in bloom. Plants turn green and bloom in all possible colors, attracting insects, birds, and bats. The desert becomes a buzzing site of the fight for survival. Most of the waterfalls are usually dry by around April.

The landscape is entirely transformed by the middle of the dry season, between April and July, when the desert’s cruel domain turns every drop of moisture into a life-saving blessing.

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Cabo San Lucas

The Capes (Mt Solmar) hike

Difficulty Level:  Moderate

Come explore the best views in all of Cabo by taking a hiking adventure over to Lover´s Beach from the Pacific side or the Marina. You will climb an uphill mountain, don´t worry it´s not that difficult if you´re an active person. The time it takes to climb all the way up is about 15-20 minutes, but once up there you will rest and enjoy awesome views of Cabo San Lucas! You will be able to see the Marina, Medano Beach, and the Pacific side from the very top, and take fabulous pictures and videos.

You will see the most amazing views of Cabo San Lucas because you will be at the very top of a mountain, overlooking the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean at the same time; you will see the town of Cabo San Lucas, the Marina, Medano Beach, and Lovers and Divorce Beach. This is a must-do hike, you will get your exercise in, and have fun exploring on this adventurous hiking journey.

My favorite hike!

Satellite towers are generally situated at the highest elevation levels available. That’s certainly the case in Los Cabos, where two of the area’s most satisfying hikes wind toward the bases of these high-altitude landmarks.

Corridor Satellite Tower Hike

Difficulty Level:  Moderate

This tower trail can be reached by a road next to the Santa Carmelo Market just before Home Depot on the four-lane frontage road. Park near the Mexicana Resort at the top of the hill and hike up the dirt road which is the service road for the tower.  An easy, gradual ascension and unforgettable views that extend for miles and miles at the tower.

Pacific Satellite Tower Hike

Difficulty Level:  Moderate

The satellite tower hike starts near the entrance to the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort and it ends atop the ConAgra Mountain with magnificent views of the city, Cabo San Lucas Bay and the Sea of Cortes, the Pacific Ocean, and the wealthy hillside enclave of Pedregal.  This is a popular trail with hikers, dog walkers, and of course photographers since the panoramic vistas are awesome.

The hike's trailhead can be found by driving out of downtown Cabo toward Pueblo Bonito Sunset; take the third road to the left after the traffic circle and drive in as far as you can go. The road ends at a locked tower service gate and has plenty of parking. The hike has switchbacks that are sort of paved and is the highest point in Cabo.

Beach Hike: Tabasco Beach to the Misiones/Thompson Resorts

This is a very peaceful beach hike. You can start at either end. Bring a beach towel; enjoy the tranquility of the beach halfway thru the hike. Be careful, do not swim if a heavy surf.

San Jose Del Cabo

Estero San Jose: The Historic San Jose Estuary

Difficulty Level:  Easy

This protected wildlife sanctuary can be easily accessed from the hotel zone—the beachfront area in San Jose del Cabo that hosts many of the city’s best hotels—or from the downtown area via the palm-lined Paso Del Estero. The estuary offers a serene and frequently shady stroll. It is a favorite of visiting birdwatchers, with an array of colorful residents that include frigate birds, red-tailed hawks, sparrow hawks, and white herons.

Camino Cabo Este

Difficulty Level:  Easy

This is an out and back option for a hike on a dirt road that follows the coast. This path runs through a couple of towns populated sparsely with tourist-type villas for folks really wanting to get away. The road follows the coastline making for pleasant views.

Starts at Buzzards Restaurant then goes east on a coastal oceanfront road. Hike as far as you want and you may run into some wild burros.

The food at Buzzards is great.

Cabo Pulmo

Difficulty Level:  Easy

The best San Jose Del Cabo beach hike you find anywhere is right here at Cabo Pulmo. The hike to the south from Cabo Pulmo village takes you through a series of small coves, separated by rocky points underneath sandstone cliffs. The hike is difficult at high tide, so wait until you see the first reef poking up from the water. Then you know the tide is low enough to walk all the way to the south end of the bay. There are two points you usually need to scramble over. Follow where others have gone for the easiest way over. It’s about three miles one-way to Corral Los Frailes, the inside cove just north of Los Frailes Point.

When you are at the south end of the bay, you can also walk out to Mermaid Beach (my name for it) which is located toward the eastern point of land. The hike is about another mile via a hillside trail. There are two wonderful coves to snorkel. The area is called a variety of names; Iguana Beach, Dinosaur Egg Beach, Mermaid Lagoon, but my favorite name is Mermaid Beach because there is a rock structure that looks just like a mermaid when viewed from the proper angle.

You can also have someone drive to Corral Los Frailes and pick you up if you only wish to hike one way.

Then for a treat you can drive another three miles south and take the left-hand dirt road just before the big point of Los Frailes. The road will take you down a rutted hill, past a rancho and to the beach. Great beach for a picnic.

Sierra de la Lagunas (Mountain Range of the lakes)

Not many people know that our Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, along with the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, was once an island! Due to its incredible beauty and biodiversity, UNESCO has designated the Sierra de la Laguna a global biosphere reserve.

The Sierra de la Laguna range also hosts several endemic species including 108 species of arthropods, 2 amphibian, 27 reptile, 74 birds and 30 mammal species. Incredible diversity!

Hike to the Canyon of the Fox, Canon de La Zorra, and The Desert’s Hidden Treasure

Difficulty Level: Moderate

The Canyon de la Zorra has become a year-round destination for hikers to refresh themselves physically and spiritually and a great way to explore the natural beauty of our local mountain range, the Sierra de la Lagunas. At Canyon de la Zorra, freshwater flows over huge granite boulders creating beautiful pools of water perfect for swimming. It's hard to believe this oasis exists in the middle of the desert!

Miraflores and Santiago (30 minutes north of San Jose Del Cabo) are two quiet craft/farming villages that border the canyon, exploring past either village will unearth natural freshwater pools, streams, waterfalls, and even hot springs!

The hike is moderate because of all the boulders you have to climb over. A totally off-the-beaten-track hike in Cabo!

Enjoy the canyon ecology of beautiful flora and fauna, cacti, flowering trees, and clear mountain streams and pools with plenty of swimming holes to enjoy.

The hike into Canyon de la Zorra is a great way to explore the base of our mountain range, the Sierra Lagunas. It's around an hour drive from Cabo, through the small agricultural town of Santiago, out to the canyon where freshwater flows over huge granite boulders making gorgeous pools. We end up at a waterfall that cascades into a large pool where you stop for a swim.

The final destination on this hike is an ethereal cascading 15-meter high waterfall that will enrapture and seduce your eyes and soul like nothing you have ever seen. Surrounded by a granite rock oasis, the shimmering freshwater falls into a small pond miraculously cooling down the burning surface of the desert. Dive in and refresh yourself, swimming with the Gods amid the greatest treasure that nature has ever dreamt. This is a lovely Oasis and swimming hole with fresh clean water fed by a lagoon. You can hike to the bottom of the waterfall and enjoy the view and swim in the falls. You can also hike to the top of the falls and check out the lagoon. The hike down from the falls, be careful, it's very steep but there are ropes and handrails.

If you are in this canyon area, you also have to check out Santa Rita Hot Springs! Get defoliated by hundreds of little fish in these springs. Find out where you are ticklish.

Open your eyes to the amazing nuances of the desert landscape. In the autumn after the rainy season, you'll see the desert flora in bloom, filling the valleys with color.  Keep an eye out for lizards, roadrunners and maybe a coyote, along with many species of indigenous birds.

The waterfall is a perfect picnic spot but those who prefer a sit-down restaurant service can choose the Palomar Hotel and Restaurant (624-130-2019), which is worth visiting. The kitchen prepares the best food in Santiago, and the Palomar was once the haunt of Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Bing Crosby, who flew down for the area’s superb white-winged dove hunting.

La Poza Oscura: The Dark Pool

Moderate to difficult

For the brave adventurer, this is the ultimate hike in Baja.

Explore the nature and culture of beautiful Baja California Sur on this adventure (guide recommended). A hotel pickup, ascend giant mountain rocks, marvel at ancient cave paintings, and leap into the cool waters of La Poza Oscura for a refreshing swim. Enjoy a delicious lunch served in a family-style ranch setting in the small mountain town of San Dionisio (St Denis).

San Dionisio is a rural community located north of San Jose Del Cabo, an inarguably well-developed tourist municipality. About 50 people, mostly families, inhabit the land on 14 ranches.

Most ranches are ready to welcome tourists and locals who enjoy this type of activity. Trails take you to where you can climb mountains, rappel and identify the main regional flora. Ranch hosts are native to the area; they have a big spirit and share their food and culture.

Whether you want to climb a mountain, spot a bird, dive into a lake or relax, you’ll encounter what you’re looking for in the wilds of the region’s countryside. The surrounding area boasts many hidden delights.

Granted, a visit to the cave paintings of San Dionisio is not the easiest thing to accomplish, but the reward is certainly worth the effort. There are cave paintings and rock art in many locations in Baja. Some locations are relatively easy to get to and others are more difficult.

Originally, the paintings were thought to be somewhere around 2,000 years old. Recent carbon dating tests have suggested that some of the paintings may have been painted as many as 7,500 years ago.
La Poza Oscura (The Dark Pool) hike is quite a feat. You have to climb giant rocks and journey through the mountains to reach this Baja California Sur wonder that is 50 feet deep and can purify your spirit by jumping in its refreshing, calm waters.
 Explore rural mountain Baja, meet the locals during this tour off the beaten path.
 A local guide will highlight unique sight-seeing locations with fascinating historical, cultural and ecological importance. You will get to experience village cores and most importantly, visit places which are not accessible to the regular tourist ... or even locals!

Todo Santos

Cerritos Beach Hike

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 A 13.4 kilometer lightly trafficked out beach trail that starts at Cerritos Beach and ends at Boca del Refugio, Baja California Sur, Mexico and offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The beach hike offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

This has always been my favorite beach hike. On the south end of Cerritos Beach, the combination of black and beige sand creates some awesome visual displays on the beach at low tide.

To make the hike one-way, bring two cars. Leave one at Boca del Refugia, and then start the hike from Cerritos Beach.

Hike this beach while you can, development is on the way on the Cerritos end of the hike.

Playa la Cachora Beach Walk

Difficulty Level:  Easy

A 2.4 kilometer trail located near Todos los Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Palm Beach Trail

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 A 2.6 kilometer trail located near El Pescadero, Baja California Sur, Mexico that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and fishing and is accessible year-round.

Todos Santos Sugar Port Trail

Difficulty Level:  Moderate

A 6.9 kilometer trail located near Todos los Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico that offers scenic views. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round.

This is a great hike up and over the coastal hills down to the walls of the old port used to ship out sugar. The walls in the Port itself were built in the late 1800s. At one time there were 8 sugar mills loading their product here and sending it out to sea. They lasted until the area ran out of water in the 1950s. Hurricanes have ravaged the road but it is still hikeable, a rocky scramble in some areas. Glad I finally got down and walked the ancient walls next to the beautiful little protected bay they were built in.

Old Port Trail at Punto Lobos

Difficulty Level:  Easy

A 1.6 kilometer trail located near Todos los Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico that offers scenic views. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. This is the end of the Sugar Port Trail and Punto Lobos is the local fisherman’s beach.

The trail starts behind the old turtle processing plant.  Right before you get to Punta Lobos look on your left for an old stone building with no roof. Go through the building and the trail will be off to your left.

You can either hike to the old port or continue on the trail which will eventually bring you to Las Palmas Beach, about a 2-hour hike. I would recommend dropping off a car at Las Palmas Beach and only go one way if you decide to take this route. If you want a smaller hike just go to the Old Port and come back the same way you went in. This should take you about 45 minutes each way. It’s best to go on a low tide and you can swim there depending on the swell. I would not recommend swimming if there are big waves. The ocean on the Pacific side of Cabo can be very dangerous.

There is also a Sea Lion colony you can view on this hike. Once you get to the top of the mountain and the trail turns to the left to go down the hill to the old port you will see a small trail on your right.  You can take that trail to the cliffs to view the Sea Lions. Be careful going this route, the cliffs are really big.

A great place to spend an afternoon.

El Picacho hike

Difficulty Level:  Hard

The Sierra de la Laguna mountain range stretches north of Los Cabos. The UNESCO-protected area has long been a favorite of hikers who appreciate the range’s challenging uphill climbs and its wonderful array of flora and fauna.

The Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve, which lies between the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez, is commonly referred to as an "island." It is one of the most biodiverse areas on the Baja peninsula and is home to a large variety of species including the Peregrine falcon, endemic Xantus's hummingbird, Pinyon mouse, Mule deer, and Baja Pygmy Owl. The Sierra de Laguna is also home to raccoons, lizards, foxes, bats, coyotes and pumas.

Access to this biosphere is available on the Sea of Cortez side thru the Canyon of the Fox, Canon de La Zorra hike covered previously. This hike into the biosphere is recommended for beginner and intermediate hikers.

El Picacho is the mountain generally considered the ultimate test for visiting hikers. To ascend Picacho, you’ll need to walk about 15 miles and climb close to 7,000 feet above sea level. It’s not a hike for beginners, and professional guides are recommended. Access to El Picacho is located near Pescadero, south of Todos Santos.

The Los Cabos area is very beautiful and fun to explore. I hope I have given you some ideas about hikes you must try.