best hiking in baja california

Best Hiking in Baja California

One of the best things to do in Mexico is explore the great outdoors and Baja has tons of it. From towering mountain peaks and cactus-laden deserts to the open ocean and everything in between, a hike through the Peninsula can be anything you want it to be. 


Ready to dust off your old hiking boots? Whether you’re looking for an easy loop through a natural area or you want to tackle a multi-day trek to establish yourself as a real backpacker, these top ten hikes in Baja California are sure to have you “training your socks off” for your next big adventure. 


The Best Hiking Trails in Baja California Mexico

  • Tabor Canyon, Loreto 
  • Circuito Cerro Colorado, Tijuana
  • San Dionisio Canyon to Sierra La Laguna High Point
  • Geiser Cucapah
  • Bosque de Cactus
  • Mt. Solmar, Los Cabos 
  • Cerro El Coronel- Picachito-Piloncillo, Rosarito 
  • Playa Balandara Norte, la Paz
  • Oasis Santa Maria
  • Cataviña Cave Paintings, El Roasrio

Tabor Canyon, Loreto 

  • Trail Length: 1.3 kilometers
  • Hiking Time: 45 minutes 
  • Difficulty: Difficult 

Tabor Canyon is a relatively short, out-and-back trail just outside of Loreto, but it’s not the best choice for total beginners. Winding through an “arroyo” and up and down the canyon, this hike involves A LOT of scuttling across rocks, and even rope climbing to reach the top. You’ll want to be pretty physically fit for this one, but it’s so worth the challenge. You will even find waterfalls, swimming holes, and panoramic views of the sea! 


The trailhead for this hike can only be accessed by car, so renting your own set of wheels and securing a local insurance policy is a must if you want to visit Tabor Canyon. 

Circuito Cerro Colorado, Tijuana

  • Trail Length: 25.1 km
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard

Have you been hearing everyone talk about hiking in Tijuana? Just outside the city, Cerro Colorado is the infamous trail that’s generating all this hype. At the highest point in Tijuana, making your way to the summit can be difficult, but will earn you 360-degree views of the city skyline, coast, and the mountains behind you. Hikers also love its rich red soil, which is at its most vibrant during the dry season. 

San Dionisio Canyon to Sierra La Laguna High Point

  • Trail Length: 35.9 km
  • Hiking Time: 3 days
  • Difficulty: Hard

Are you an experienced hiker seeking a REAL Mexican backpacking adventure? This three-day out-and-back trek has it all. Frequent elevation changes, river-crossings, an abandoned watchtower, dry deserts, and forested mountains: there isn’t much you won’t see on this overnight hiking and camping trip. 


Geiser Cucapah

  • Trail Length: 6.8 km
  • Hiking Time: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard

Hiking in Baja affords you once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore the region’s true hidden gems. During your next trek, why not get an up-close look at a natural phenomenon? Tucked deep into the Sierra de Cucapá, this geyser appeared seemingly out of nowhere after an earthquake in 2010. 


Bosque de Cactus

a shot of baja california sur, mexico, sunrise and Bosque cactus in Mexico
Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash
  • Trail Length: 13.8km
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Situated outside of Corridor Isla Cerralvo, this half-day hike is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. This majestic cactus forest is home to thousands of these Baja icons: the cardón cactus. With so many bright colors and towering desert species, this gem in the middle of the desert is sure to give you a little serotonin boost. It’s highly recommended that you time your hike to end around sunset because the sky around here is known to glow with an array of fiery tones. 


Mt. Solmar, Los Cabos 

  • Trail Length: 3 kilometers
  • Hiking Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Want to hike with local dogs? Yep, you read that right. This top-rated hike is located on private property (a local dog camp) and the owner opens it up to the public so long as the furry friends can join in on the fun. This mountain overlooks both Divorce Beach and Lover’s Beach, but more interestingly, the point where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. 


Cerro El Coronel- Picachito-Piloncillo, Rosarito 

  • Trail Length: 8 km
  • Hiking Time: 3.5-4 hours 
  • Difficulty: Hard

El Coronel is considered the pinnacle of hiking in Rosarito, but why stop there? This trail will lead you to all three of the great “peaks” in the area, reaching up to nearly 2400 feet. For a change, these mountains are quite green and lush when compared to other Baja hikes, with tons of wildflowers blooming year-round and peaks and valleys as far as the eye can see. With scenery like this, this trail is a photographer’s dream. 


Playa Balandara Norte, la Paz

a high angle view of a Playa Balandara Norte beach, la Paz
Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash
  • Trail Length:  4.7 kilometers
  • Hiking Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

One of the best things about Balandara Beach can only be seen from a birds-eye view: powdery white sand swirling with the seas like a watercolor painting. This hike will take you along the coast of the Sea of Cortez, scaling sweeping sand dunes and footpaths with giant cacti. The scenery is quite reminiscent of the Great Ocean Walk in Australia (except it will only take you a meager two hours or less!) 

Something else that’s really great about this hike is that it’s super accessible- you can reach the trailhead by car or city bus since it departs from the main beach. Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit because you’ll pass not one, but seven secluded beaches wrapped around the bay, plus the famous Playa Balandara. 


Oasis Santa Maria

birds flying over brown rocky mountain in Oasis Santa Maria, Baja California, Mexico
Photo by Ana Bustamante on Unsplash
  • Trail Length: 54.6 km
  • Hiking Time: 13 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard

A true “day hike”, this desert route will take you ALL DAY to traverse, but that’s hardly an investment of time since you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another planet. Springing up from the dusty floor of the Cataviña, this paradise of turquoise freshwater, smooth white stone and palms stretching into the blue sky is breathtaking, to say the least.  


Cataviña Cave Paintings, El Roasrio

  • Trail Length: 2.3 km
  • Hiking Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate 

One of the top things to do in Baja is explore the famous cave paintings. Did you know some of them can actually be explored in tandem with an easy hike? In less than an hour, you can reach the 3000-year-old Cataviña Cave Paintings, but you will need to weather some rocky terrain.  Since these are some of the lesser-known cave paintings, you aren’t required to go with a guide and you can stay as long as you’d like. Though it might seem like the destination is the highlight of this hike, you’ll also see spectacular rock formations, palms, and cacti growing out of the canyon and plenty of wild desert flowers along the way. Talk about a dreamscape! 

Best Hiking in Baja California – FAQs

Is hiking in Baja California safe?

Generally speaking, yes, hiking in this Mexican state is safe. Since hiking often occurs in remote areas, you’ll want to keep your wits about you and follow our top tips for safety in the Baja Peninsula. You’ll also want to pay attention to any trailhead signs warning of hike-specific dangers, prepare for the weather (nobody wants heatstroke in the middle of the desert), choose a trail that’s suitable for your experience level, and keep an eye out for local wildlife. 

When is the best time to hike in Baja California Mexico? 

Each trail’s recommendations will vary a bit from season-season due to flood risks, weather conditions, and extreme heat, but generally speaking, hikers will be happiest targeting a trip between December and April. This is when temperatures are warm (but not too hot) and rainfall is at its lowest. 

What do I need for a hiking trip in Baja?

What you need to have with you will depend greatly on the length of your trip but here are a few things every hiker should consider packing for the journey: 

– Bottled water and snacks
High UV-protection, reef-safe sunscreen 
– Sturdy hiking boots (or running shoes and socks) 
– Sunglasses and/or brimmed hat
Mini first-aid kit
– Bathing suit (if your trail has a swimming hole/beach en route)
– Camera 

A few long layers if traveling into the night (Pro Tip: the desert gets COLD after the sun goes down)

Is hiking in Baja Mexico suitable for beginners? 

It certainly can be, you just need to choose the right trail! Short, beginner-friendly trails will be posted with a difficulty level of “easy”! Paying attention to elevation changes and other notes will also help you choose the right spot.

For example, if unsure footing and water crossings are present, they will typically be posted on the trail listing in places like Some “moderate” trails should be fine for total newbies as well, as long as you possess a standard degree of physical fitness and choose a shorter trail.

The last thing you want is to challenge yourself and get stuck partway through the hike. 

Should I hire a hiking guide in Baja California?

Some trails require you to hire a hiking guide, such as the San Borjitas Cave Paintings, due to their cultural significance, nature preserves status, or challenging nature. This is also a great way to ensure you don’t get lost and can make more challenging hikes approachable for those without extensive experience. After all- safety first! That said, not of the trails on this require you to hire a guide.

Avatar photo
About the author

Brenna Harris is a freelance travel writer whose biggest passions in life are travel, reading, beachcombing, and exploring the great outdoors. When she’s not abroad, she spends her time in Canada with her husband and puppy, sharing her greatest travel tips with you.

Read more by Brenna Harris

Leave a Comment