Baja California will most likely leave you speechless, thanks to its eclectic mix of desert and water. With the Sea of Cortez at its feet, the Sierra de la Laguna are impressive granite colossuses, that seem to stem from the tropical forests below.
So you’ll get plenty of impressive sceneries to marvel at, trenches and valleys, plains and canyons, mountains and sea. That provides a lot of opportunities for hiking, although you’ll need to get the proper equipment and learn a few tips and tricks about how to navigate the landscape.
Brush your survival skills
Since the tallest peak in these mountains is Picacho de la Laguna standing at 7,090 feet tall, you’ll have some climbing to do. The second tallest peak is Cerro de las Casitas, a little below 7,000 feet itself. But the meadow that stretches between these two giants is amazingly beautiful.
However, since this is mainly virgin territory with a lot of hidden, unmarked trails, you can easily get lost. That’s why we recommend you to learn a few basic survival skills that include building a fire, finding shelter and water, or signaling for help.
So you’ll need a few essentials, like waterproof matches, a light tent, the best backpacking sleeping pad, and a whistle. And if you can master the triangulation method so you don’t get lost in the wilderness, it’s even better.
Research the local plants and animals
Finding more about the flora and fauna of the Sierra de la Laguna doesn’t just relate to an emergency situation. It can make your hiking trip better too, seeing as there’s such a large botanical and zoological variety you can marvel at here.
The Sierras are a treasure trove of cacti, palm trees, and pines that seem to rise out of the sheer rock. But there are hundreds of different plant species in the pine, oak and tropical forests. These forests, along with the Sonoran Desert house wild mountain lions and strange amphibians, dreary scorpions and playful kangaroo rats.
So you can get a reliable pair of binoculars to marvel at all these creatures, as well as a good outdoor camera to take the best pictures for your friends at home to see. You can even learn some tricks about how to take better photographs, it always pays off to acquire new skills.
Otherwise, since there are tons of insects in the wet seasons, you should pack a good insect repellant for your trip.
Dress for the weather
Of course, the first thing you should do prior to any trip is to research the local weather. For the Sierra de la Laguna, the weather corresponds to a dry tropical landscape with cloud forests and peaks that distinguish themselves through a high degree of humidity. Plus, the temperatures are really high, around 80ᵒF the whole year round, though they’re known to go far above 100ᵒF too.
So with a lot of rain, moisture and high temperatures, monsoons, and hurricanes, you’ll need to get reliable equipment. That means making sure you have a light rain jacket, and that most of your important equipment is waterproof. Pack plenty of head scarves and sunscreen too for the dry, hot seasons.
You should pack light clothing made from moisture-wicking materials. That equals no cotton whatsoever since that will keep your skin wet. The best for the job is merino wool, especially for your underwear and your tops since it has anti-bacterial properties, letting your skin dry even when you sweat a lot.
You can get polyester or nylon items too, for instance, pants. And don’t forget about getting comfortable sports shoes, with good ankle support, a cushiony sole, and reinforcements in the toe/ heel areas. These shoes should be light, waterproof, but should also allow your feet to breathe.
Take the proper camping supplies
There aren’t any camping facilities in Sierra de la Laguna, so you can set your tent basically wherever feels right. But that implies you should take a lot of the responsibility and do your best to leave a clean space, without polluting the environment.
Make sure you get enough garbage bags and that you don’t throw any waste in the water. You should use biodegradable soap or washing detergent, and don’t leave food lying around to attract animals. You can bring useful items like a camping stove, but be careful about making fires in the raw wilderness.
Speak with the local tour guides
All the tour guides are very friendly and they’ll give you important info, like whether you can hike without them, or where to find water sources. You can ask what food they recommend you to carry, what the most commonly chosen paths are, and where they advise you to set up a tent.
The tour guides will give you details about the weather, how to reach certain viewpoints, which streams and waterfalls are worth the hike if you have limited time, and where you can see the Pacific Ocean from. But we recommend that you visit the official Sierra de la Laguna website, and get all the right details about the marked hiking trails too.
Or you can even get a guided hike, these people are endless fountains of knowledge, they have inspiring stories, they know all the plants and animals, not to mention they’re outstanding cooks.
Exercise your body and mind
You need to get a few workouts in before going on this hike because it can be pretty strenuous. High-intensity interval training is great to start with, but you’ll also need some rock climbing techniques. Balancing workouts are amazing; you’ll definitely need that for keeping your balance while crossing the rivers. And if you don’t know how to swim yet, now’s the time to learn.
That said, you can prepare yourself for a wonderful experience. You’ll get to live a few days in a wondrous landscape, that’s bound to make you fall in love with the raw, untapped beauties of a virgin territory.
Rebecca Crawford lives in the USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favorite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for hikingmastery.com