Valle de los Cirios Natural Protected Area
Above parallel 28, just before the line which divides the two states on the peninsula of Baja California, you will find this area defined to protect the area’s flora and fauna. This is a desert stretched between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, covering the south portion of the Ensenada municipality. A few solitary dirt tracks and a tiny portion of the Transpeninsular highway 1 are the only roads which cross the expanse.
Desert plains, mountains, plateaus, ravines and stream beds: the terrain of the Valle de los Cirios is diverse and rugged. Sometimes, as if from nowhere, an oasis appears, even palm trees. But sometimes a cliff suddenly plummets down into the waves. Over 100 species of fauna, and 700 of flora (many endemic) call this region home. You may spot bighorn sheep, mule deer, pumas and unique reptiles. The American antelope visits seasonally, as do the migratory birds, but nothing brings greater change to the desert as do the rains. The waxy greens and ochre shades become the backdrop to vibrant red flowers which bloom from the cacti.
Be well assured, come rain or shine, what you are guaranteed to see are the giants of the area: the cirio, cardon and torote blanco species of cacti which tower over their mesquite and chamizo cousins.
Humans have had little presence in the desert, but there is some evidence such as cave paintings and petroglyphs made by nomadic tribes passing through over past millennia. The area’s two best preserved mission churches; San Francisco de Borja Ádac and Santa Gertrudis La Magna, both stand proudly in the desert, as do the ruins of mining infrastructure which toiled here in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Valle de los Cirios, Baja California, Guerrero Negro, B.C.S., MéxicoSee map