Baja California

Exploring Baja and Its Blue Palm Canyon, 'El Berrendo'

A paradise near San Felipe

Running water is not far from the end of the road in this Blue Palm 'oasis'

How to get to Berrendo Canyon:

There are several roads into (or out of) Valle Chico allowing one to make a loop trip or see some of the other area sites. By far, the fastest and easiest road is from just north of San Felipe and comes down Valle Chico, described below. Other roads can be used from near the sulfur mine (25 miles south of San Felipe) or up Arroyo Matomi, 10 miles north of Puertecitos.

Leave Highway 5 about five miles north of San Felipe where a sign may point the way to 'El Saltito' and 'Morelia'. A large self-storage facility is at the junction. Go west about 4.5 miles and junction with the original Ensenada-San Felipe road (turn right). In just under 9 more miles is a fork where you will go left (south) and enter Valle Chico. Some rock hounding in this region may produce fossils to photograph (collecting of fossils is not legal by non-Mexicans).

About 19 miles beyond the fork, traveling mostly south, the road bends west to a junction where you turn left (south). If passed the road goes 1.3 more miles to the foot of the sierra, by Rancho Algodon. The correct road goes south and passes through the nearly abandoned ejido farm of 'Plan Nacional Agrario' in about 8 miles (often also called 'Agua Caliente' after the nearby canyon with hot springs).

A left or south turn is made in the ejido for the road south to Berrendo and Matomi. 5.6 miles south of Plan Nacional Agrario is a fork. Most traffic goes left to Matomi Canyon (11.7 miles), continue straight ahead on a lesser road that passes a ranch corral 'Carricitos'. Continue south 1.4 miles from Carricitos and turn right in the white sand arroyo of Berrendo. The road ahead goes 6.4 miles and ends a mile from Rancho El Parral.

The drive up Arroyo el Berrendo is only 3 miles to where boulders force you to park. This may be the only part of the drive where four wheel drive needs to be used. The road ends at some large boulders. Look up at the high canyon walls and see the blue palms. A short walk will bring into the blue palms along a running stream. About a mile walk up the canyon is a grotto. Giant boulders, running water, pools and blue palms create the grotto.

2012 visitors reported a fence was erected across the arroyo before the end of the road. If unlocked, please close gates after passing, as they are used to control livestock.

GPS DATA (WGS84):

Leave Hwy. 5: 31º05.89', -114º53.56'

Turn left into Valle Chico: 31º01.69', -115º05.79'

Turn left near Algodon: 30º47.03', -115º09.99'

Turn left in Plan Nacional Agrario: 30º40.34', -115º08.09'

Go straight near Carricitos: 30º35.68', -115º07.02'

Turn right in Arroyo el Berrendo: 30º34.49', -115º06.76'

End of Road: 30º32.59', -115º07.96'

The Grotto: 30º32.11', -115º08.15'

David Kier is author the The Old Missions of Baja & Alta California 1697-1834, that covers the histories and interesting facts around the 48 missions — starting with the first mission established in Loreto in 1697 —

founded in Baja during this time period.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for Baja, California, supported by a full-service travel agency staffed with local "Travel Savants".Baja.com offers Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. To contact Baja.com, call 855-BAJA-411 or email info@baja.com.

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