Tuesday September 19 2017

Posted by James on May 22, 2017
  • Baja Highway Mex 5 to Mex 3
    Baja Highway Mex 5 to Mex 3
  • Mex 3 large truck extra wide load
    Mex 3 large truck extra wide load
  • Mex 3 Valle de Trinidad
    Mex 3 Valle de Trinidad
  • Valle de Trinidad Baja
    Valle de Trinidad Baja
  • Mex 3 near Ojos Negros
    Mex 3 near Ojos Negros
  • Mex 3 Fog descending to Ensenada
    Mex 3 Fog descending to Ensenada

San Felipe to Ensenada and on to Tijuana (Mex 5 to Mex 3 to Mex 1) May 2017

I decided to try a road new to me when leaving San Felipe the other day while headed north to Tijuana. Just north of the San Felipe military inspection area is the Mex route 3 that takes you over the mountains to the pacific side. It starts out very straight but with lots of rough pavement. Once the Mex 3 route begins to wind up into the mountains it becomes a clean but narrow highway.

You will soon end up arriving into the Valle de Trinidad area which I had never seen before. It is quite a beautiful valley with a fair amount of agriculture. The road was fine and only slow going as you pass through the small towns.

Be careful as always on these narrow roads, there are not many shoulder sor turnouts in many places. As you may see in one of my photos, you never know what you'll encounter. I turned a corner to find 2 large trucks with loads as wide as the whole road. While there was a lead car they sure didn't give much time to find a shoulder. I had no problem but the car a head of me almost flipped getting off the highway for this extra large load.

You then wind away up into a higher valley area becoming known as the Ruta del Vino y Queso (the Wine and Cheese Route). This area is not to be confused with the newer Ruta del Vino between Ensenada and Tecate. This area not only boast some of the older wineries of Baja but a place called La Cava de Marcelo or La Cava de Los Quesos (The Cave of Cheeses). This rancho that makes artesian cheeses is fairly well known and while I did not have time this trip, I do plan on coming back just to experience thees local delights.

Ojos Negros is where the highway enters an area of large boulders and soon begins the descent through small oak forest and rolling hills to the sea. As you descend through the boulders you will pass the turn off to Rancho Agua Caliente which is a hot springs resort.

From there on it is a narrow but well surfaced 2 lane highway down into the marine weather of Ensenada. Many days such as when I drove this route you will find layers of clouds and fog as you descend to the pacific side. Upon entering the Ensenada area you will have several ways you may continue north.

I decided to go to the coastal route Mex 1 so as to see how the repairs at Salsipuedes are going. The Salsipuedes area is where a few years ago the Mex 1 highway had dropped 20 feet in an day! While this occurred a few years ago they are still working hard on it, trying to rebuild the highway along this precipitous coastal route. It is passable and a beautiful drive with it being only one lane in a few areas as you make your way north on the toll roads to Tijuana and the Mexico/ US border.

I highly recommend if you have never visited the Valleys and mountains between San Felipe and Ensenada that it is well worth the drive. You can visit a few wineries, the Cheese cave and possibly get a soak in the hot springs.

Whatever route you drive on the Baja Peninsula be careful and prepared for surprises. If you keep your driving to the day time and plan plenty of time any drive in Baja can be scenic and relaxing. Buen Viaje!

 

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