Exploring Baja and Its Blue Palm Canyon, ‘El Berrendo’

A paradise near San Felipe

Exploring Baja and Its Blue Palm Canyon, ‘El Berrendo’Exploring Baja: A cluster of Blue Palms in the rocky terrain near San Felipe. David Kier / Baja.com
Exploring Baja: A cluster of Blue Palms in the rocky terrain near San Felipe. David Kier / Baja.com

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By David Kier Via Baja.com

The Blue Fan Palm ‘Erythea (Brahea) armata’ is endemic to Baja California and is found in canyons and slopes near arroyos with water from the area of San Ignacio north to the border with California. Often they grow alongside their green leaf cousin the Mexican Fan Palm. The Blue Fan Palm (in Spanish: Palma Azul or Palma Ceniza) stand out with their gray-blue leaves and can be seen growing out of rocky cliff sides high above the sandy desert in many places.

Exploring Baja, author David Kier finds a Blue Palm 'paradise'

One canyon near San Felipe stands out as a Blue Palm ‘paradise’ with the blues growing both in the arroyo sand and high up the cliff face. Apparently the ones up high are feeding on water trapped inside boulders after rain or along a fault with spring water. The canyon is El Berrendo located along the east slope of the Sierra San Pedro Martir, draining into Valle Chico between Agua Caliente Canyon and Matomi Canyon. Some maps also spell the canyon ‘Herrendo’ or ‘Verrenda’.

Getting to Berrendo Canyon is best done with a four wheel drive or off road vehicle. The 51 dirt miles is mostly a good graded road. However, the final 3 miles is in a deep sand arroyo and may require lowering tire air pressure to improve flotation. Bring an electric air pump for the return trip. Make sure to top your fuel tank in San Felipe before leaving town and going with a companion vehicle would be a good idea in this remote region.

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