This is a moderate to advanced 11.8-kilometer (7.3-mile) hike that climbs up to the ridge of the Sierra Cacachilas mountain range, more than 1000 meters (3281 feet) above sea level. Starting near Rancho Chivato and ending at Canoas, hikers are treated with 360º panoramic views of sierra, sea and sky — a bird's-eye view of the greater La Paz region.
INTERACTIVE MAP AND ELEVATION CHART
Use the controls in the lower right corner of the map to zoom in and out. Hover over a point on the trail to see the corresponding elevation on the chart below, or vice versa. The hiker symbol indicates the proposed start and the flag represents the proposed finish.
It takes the average hiker between 6 to 8 hours to complete this trek, depending on how long one wishes to linger at the top to enjoy the views. Views are definitely the main attractions of this excursion. In the distance, to the south, you see the Sierra de la Laguna, the highest mountain range in the state of Baja California Sur. To the east, you take in the full view of La Ventana Bay. To the west, is the Bay of La Paz and its sandbar, the Mogote. Farther in the distance, you can make out the beginnings of the Sierra de la Giganta, the mountain range that extends to the town of Loreto, the former Spanish Jesuit Mission that once was the capital of the entire peninsula. To the north and slightly east is the steep, rugged Isla Cerralvo, recently renamed Jacques Cousteau Island, after the French oceanographer that famously described the Sea of Cortez as the aquarium of the world.
This hike starts on a section of the dirt road that is behind and west of Rancho Chivato, near the San Rafael and La Miseria mines that were operated by the Orynski family in the 1800s. For those wanting to extend the length of this hike, it is a pleasant stretch in cooler, early morning hours to start from Rancho Chivato and walk the dirt road until reaching the trailhead.
Once on the trail itself, and before beginning the true ascent, you pass by ruins of a settlement used by hunter-gatherers of long ago. Later, this site was used as a small ranch for miners.
At about 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles), you arrive at the start of the ridge. This provides an opportunity to pause and learn about some of the region's native plants, such as the Cacachila after which this property is named. Be sure to ask one of our guides about the hierba de la flecha, particularly before entertaining the dubious thought of touching this plant.
The path continues east along the ridge to the summit. At a certain point, our guides usually recommend taking a few minutes to detour west to scramble up a set of boulders that will give you a good vantage point from which to take in the views. In fact, there are also several scenic places along the ridge to pause and admire your vast surroundings.
You reach the summit of Portezuelo de los Robles, 5.8 kilometers (3.6 miles) into the hike and at 1098 meters (3602 feet) above sea level.
A little over halfway, we leave the ridge and carefully start the steep descent, eventually intersecting with the Middle Mountain Trail. We then continue east, following the Cañada de Geraldos path.
Eventually, we join up with the Santa Rosa Trail and the dry river bed of Canoas Arroyo. At certain times of year, the arroyo fills with water and creates a waterfall westward off the trail.
Continuing along the Santa Rosa Trail, you finally arrive at Canoas, the historical heart of Rancho Cacachilas. Be sure to take some time to appreciate this tranquil spot. Ask your guide about the mining ruins that are located nearby. They are part of a fascinating story that we soon plan to present at the Museo Ruta de Plata in the village of El Triunfo.