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erikdr
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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 12:46 PM
San Diego to San Pedro Martir?


I'm looking to travel down to the San Pedro Martir National Park this summer, specifically Rancho Santo Tomas. Does anyone know of the best road/any road that will get me there? Also, do you need any permits to get into the park?

If anyone has any knowledge at all please drop it here! Thanks!
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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 01:37 PM


You should get a 7 day (free) Tourist Permit at the Port of Entry in Tijuana, Tecate, or wherever you plan to enter the country. I have never been to Rancho Santo Tomas, but as you enter the National Park, you will need to pay an entry fee. I do not know the current fee, but you must enter the park before sundown, as the entrance gate is closed at approximately 4 or 5 p.m.

Take all of your own drinking water, there is none offered to the tourists - only the employees and Research Faculty of the Observatory. There are no open fires permitted, and it gets chilly at night, so be prepared for near freezing nighttime temperatures.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 02:08 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by erikdr
I'm looking to travel down to the San Pedro Martir National Park this summer, specifically Rancho Santo Tomas. Does anyone know of the best road/any road that will get me there? Also, do you need any permits to get into the park?

If anyone has any knowledge at all please drop it here! Thanks!


are you talking about a rancho shown on maps as in the park and in south center of the plateau? i don't think it's today anything more than a temporary cowboy camp (or perhaps a clandestine pot plantation)

to get there, enter main park entrance, then use your mountain bike to travel old trails/roads to reach most anywhere on plateau. you could hike, but mt bike is faster.

some of the roads on plateau are drivable by vehicle, many are not. and only people "allowed" to drive the off-the-track roads are ranchers and park authorized workers - so use a mt bike.

for best map of the park trails and roads, get jerry schads map of SPM. jerry schads map is old, and there has been no worthwhile map since - many of roads shown by jerry may be grown over (another good reason for mt bike), so you are on your own for best path to rancho. if you ask a park employee, one of them may know which routes are most open.

topography on the plateau is confusing, so take good map and GPS if'n you have it.

yes there is a fee, pay at entrance. ain't much, a few dollars per day per person. if you have nat park "passport" you don't need pay fee.
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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 04:37 PM
MAPS


Here are some maps of interest. When you say "Rancho Santo Tomas", can you tell us where you got that name or what you seek? The only "Santo Tomas" in the sierra is a meadow just east of the final mission site. No roads anywhere near there. The Jerry Schad 1988 map is excellent, but does not go south far enough to show the mission or San Marcos Meadow. See the 1972 edition (or later) copies of John Robinson's 'Camping and Climbing in Baja' (map shown below)...

1962:



With notes:



1972:



Close Up:



1978:



Close Up:



(Rancho Concepcion is the site the Dark Skys Inn B & B)

Mision San Pedro Martir first site expedition map (Bob Vinton and Max Kurillo notes):





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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 07:29 PM


In 1905, from Nelson's book:

"July 28 we left the Rancho Santo Tomas and descened th west slope of the mountains by a well worn trail. A few miles below the ranch we passed the ruins of the old San Pedro Matir Mission on a sloping bench on the mountain side, where a small stream afforded water for irrigating some small fields. All that remains now of the mission are the bases of adobe walls where buildings stood, a little graveyard near, and the low banks of irrigation ditches."

(The above was posted by bajalou on June 20, 2004)




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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 07:42 PM
Nelson's map


Published in 1919 from his 1905 expedition research:

Northern section:



The red line is Nelson's route.

Close Up:



Sadly, Rancho Santo Tomas is not included, but it is between Santa Rosa and Mision San Pedro Martir. San Isidoro (below the mission on the trail) is spelled with a Y.




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[*] posted on 6-14-2011 at 08:43 PM


I used the John Robinson book to help me figure out where the 4WD routes previously existed in the SSPM Park. The Venado Blanco trail leading to Rancho Viejo is incredible this time of year!:yes:




The "Cowboy Cabin" at Rancho Viejo, Parque Sierra de San Pedro el Martir




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[*] posted on 6-15-2011 at 08:29 AM


Ken's San Pedro Martir photos are still online and hosted on my site, here: http://www.vivabaja.com/kensbaja/



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[*] posted on 6-16-2011 at 07:19 AM


We were just up there June 3-5 providing comms for the Baja 500. It was GORGEOUS during the day but got down to 39 at night. Here's a link to the Observatory's weather site for your planning purposes:

http://www.astrossp.unam.mx/weather15/index.html

Camp in the park (there are porta-potties at several sites but plan on being self-contained) or down below at either Meling Ranch or Rancho Coyote - both an easy drive on good pavement to the park.
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[*] posted on 6-16-2011 at 07:32 AM


Hi Elena, did you notice if Los Manzanos is still in business? It is the little RV park off to the right (at the water spring) just before the park... Camped there in 2000... quite an interesting place.



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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 09:18 AM


David: The family that owns Los Manzanos have put up a big locked gate, I think its because people were camping there without permision and harvesting pine nuts. The original owner died a "violent" death a few years back....

[Edited on 6-18-2011 by astrobaja]




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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 11:04 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by astrobaja
David: The family that owns Los Manzanos have put up a big locked gate, I think its because people were camping there without permision and harvesting pine nuts. The original owner died a "violent" death a few years back....

[Edited on 6-18-2011 by astrobaja]


Thanks for the update Mike! Too bad there wasn't enough tourism to keep the little campground/ RV park going.
There was a few RV spots with water and sewer hookups and other dry camping spaces, and a shower/ toilet building.
For a hot shower, the caretaker put some sticks under the water heater (a typical home gas water heater) and lit a fire. It worked! That was on July 26, 2000: http://www.vivabaja.com/davidlorenzo/

The caretaker knew (or told us) the story of how the Meling's originally aquired Rancho San Jose, in a poker game... Greg Niemann put that story in his book 'Baja Legends'.




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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 12:19 PM


David, when was the last time you were up at the park? They have some very nice wood cabins (3 I think) right behind the 1st speedbump, supposedly they are furnished now and all they have to figure out is the water supply issues. Alfredo estimated possibly they will be ready to rent by july/august, the new park director Gonzalo is a very keen young guy with lots of great ideas and energy!

cheers

Mike

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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 12:53 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by David K
Too bad there wasn't enough tourism to keep the little campground/ RV park going.


dk: have you ever been to the park?
there is plenty of tourism, but bottom of hill is problematic location.

the park has such great space that a campground/rv place at lower elevation is bound to suffer. why camp in lowlands when 1/2 hr up the road you can camp in the high mountain forest?
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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 04:29 PM


no, no Lencho the Mexican gov't has its own national park passport you can purchase it like 200-300 pesos gets you in for a year to any of Mexicos national parks. Good deal really!! Don't think it'd be that cheap in the US of A :yes:



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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 04:46 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by astrobaja
no, no Lencho the Mexican gov't has its own national park passport you can purchase it like 200-300 pesos gets you in for a year to any of Mexicos national parks. Good deal really!! Don't think it'd be that cheap in the US of A :yes:


Where can I get one of those?




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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 05:23 PM


Dave for sure you can get em at any park office ie SPM or Laguna Hanson but there may be other offices too like in Ensenada. The park guys work for CONANP so perhaps you can also get them at their office. I think its in that big new municipal building on Reforma

http://www.conanp.gob.mx/




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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 05:36 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Dave
Quote:
Originally posted by astrobaja
no, no Lencho the Mexican gov't has its own national park passport you can purchase it like 200-300 pesos gets you in for a year to any of Mexicos national parks. Good deal really!! Don't think it'd be that cheap in the US of A :yes:


Where can I get one of those?


can also get them at san ignacio lagoon, guerroero negro. any of the national park/reserve fee areas.

passport is best deal if you will be in fee area over 4 days per year.
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[*] posted on 6-18-2011 at 09:09 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by lencho
Quote:
Originally posted by astrobaja
no, no Lencho the Mexican gov't has its own national park passport you can purchase it like 200-300 pesos gets you in for a year to any of Mexicos national parks. Good deal really!! Don't think it'd be that cheap in the US of A :yes:

Thanks for the info. FWIW, they cost $80/year in the US, $10 for seniors.


But that $10 for seniors is forever (if they live that long).




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[*] posted on 6-19-2011 at 09:13 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by astrobaja
David, when was the last time you were up at the park? They have some very nice wood cabins (3 I think) right behind the 1st speedbump, supposedly they are furnished now and all they have to figure out is the water supply issues. Alfredo estimated possibly they will be ready to rent by july/august, the new park director Gonzalo is a very keen young guy with lots of great ideas and energy!

cheers

Mike

Mike


The photos in the link I posted showed the last time I was all the way to the observatory (in 2000) and we drove up halfway and then turned north to Mike's Sky Rancho in 2005.

When we go back, I would prefer to stay at your place and take a day trip up from there.

[Edited on 6-19-2011 by David K]




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