Mex 3 - Ensenada to San Felipe
(151 Miles, 3:30 Hours)
Two lane highway, with intersections, curves, switchbacks, hills, which require slower speed driving.
Intersection of Av. Reforma, Blvd Juaraz and Calzada Cortez at the Benito Juaraz monument. Drive East on Cortez through a business district.
Turn left on the Intersection of Calzada Cortez and Highway 3. A full service 24 hour Pemex station with diesel is on the corner. The next full service Pemex is at El Chinero and San Felipe so top off the tank here. There are several gas pumps in small towns along the way, but may not be as reliable.
Headquarters of Rescate, (rescue corps), on the left.
L.P. (propane gas) depot on the left.
The turnoff on the right leads to Rancho Ensenada Guest Ranch.
Large green frog rock on the left side of the Highway.
The turnoff to the right on the dirt road leads to Rancho Auga Calienta Hot Springs, (7km). OK for sturdy passenger cars except during rainy season. The scenic road winds upward through the hills studded with weather-beaten boulders know as piedras gordas, (flat roads) before descending in the Ojas Negros Valley.
Large painted alligator rock on the right side of the highway near km 36
Rancho el Toro, (Rancho el Paraiso), with gas pumps and views into Ensenada; Elevation 480 metros, 1574 feet.
Junction with paved road into Ojos Negros. A farming and ranching community with markets, restaurants, A hotel or Ojos Negros Hacienda and Resort situated in a high desert valley with a natrual water supply. Weather tempuratures are moderated by the elevation just over 2,000 feet.
La Cava de Marcelo, Spanish for Marcelo's cellar, is the only cheese cellar in the country is located in Ojos Negros (Map). Tourists are welcome Friday through Sunday by the cellar and farm owner, Marcelo Castro, who is the fourth generation cheesemaker, of the 100 plus year old artisanal cheese cellar, wine and the cheese tasting room. Marcelo has a wealth of knowledge. This place is a local tressure!
Also take this road for the former gold mining town of Real del Castillo, (12 km), the capital of Baja during the 1880s. On the first Sunday of October the community commemorates with a historic festival. From Ojos Negros a dirt road leads east to Parque Nacional Constitucion de 1857, (43 km).
Turnoff North East on graded dirt road to Laguna Hanson (32km) located in Parque Nacional Constitucion de 1857, a national part in the Sierra de Juarez. The highlight is the lake, Laguna Hanson, surrounded by pine forests, unusual rock formations. The scenic 1 1/2 hour drive, (20 miles), is suitable for passenger cars.
Excellent primitive campsites (small enterance fee); Except during the rainy season.
Turnoff to El Alamo, (15km), a formally large gold mining town.
Ejido Hereos de la independencia with llanteras, gas, cafes, markets and a picturesque church. A dirt road leads North to the ruins of Mission Santa Catarina, (8 km), founded in 1797.
Community of Ejido Ley de la Reforma.
Turnoff on the right to Valle de Trinidad with stores, cafes, public phones, gas, llanteras, and auto mechanics.
Turnoff to Mike's Sky Ranch in the Sierra San Pedro Martir. A sturdy passenger car can normally handle the scenic 20 mile one hour drive up the one lane scenic dirt road (see video).
Mike's Sky Ranch is a popular destination for people who want to visit scenic destinations.
Elevation of Mike's Sky Ranch is 4,000 feet.
Village of San Matias with gas pumps, camp site, schools ...
Enter San Matias pass, watch for tight curves and switchbacks on the highway; on the right is Sierra San Pedro Martir. Its highest peak, Picacho del Diablo, rises over 10,000 feet and is the highest point in Baja California.
Those who are interested in climbing to the peak would normally use a route from Paque Nacional San Pedro Martir, (Mex 1 Ensenada to San Quintin, Mile 81, exit then 60 miles up to the park, exit the park on foot). It requires climbing experiance and can not be done in rainy / snowy season.
Temperatures in the pass range 75 - 90 F during the summers and in the 60 - 75 F range in winter.
Highway descends, desert flora include agave, creosote brush, mistletoe, ocotillo, cholla and barrel cactus. Temperatures soar above 115 F during the summer months, while they may be 25 degrees colder in the pass.
First view of Sea of Cortez beyond the salt flats.
Crucero La Trinidad, (el Chinero), where Highway 3 joins Highway 5, (from Mexicali). San Felipe is 31 miles south. There is usually a gun and drug inspection checkpoint.
The turnoff to Villas de Cortez, (at km 171), with beachfront camping and pool 2 miles, (East). This is the first of many camp grounds along the Sea of Cortez (San Felipe Campsites).