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Gscott
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[*] posted on 11-3-2017 at 08:46 PM
Mountain Roads around Loreto


I'll be flying to Loreto later this month.. I'd like to try to explore the mountains west of Loreto a bit, at a minimum, and hopefully drive through to the Pacific Side. I'd prefer to make the Hwy 1 loop through La Purisima and out, down to Ciudad Insurgentes, and back up the inside. But obviously I'll be doing it in a rented car or perhaps a 4x4 like a stock jeep wrangler or toyota tacoma.

What is the condition of the gravel "Hwy 1" road north of Loreto at KM 59 west through San Isidro and La Purisima? Will a standard rental car make this trip, even at a grueling slow pace? (with new tires and careful driving). The jeep?

Or, what about the gravel road continuing south out of San Javier? How far will I get in a rental car before running into trouble crossing streams and such? Is a rental jeep fine to make this trip to Santo Domingo?

Anyone have suggestions to get up in the hills to explore a little bit?

Last year I went as far as San Javier, Mulege and Tripui but never left the pavement. Maybe I missed some opportunities?

Or do I need to stay on pavement until I can get my own vehicle down there? Thanks!

[Edited on 11-4-2017 by Gscott]
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[*] posted on 11-3-2017 at 09:42 PM


See my Trip #2 trip report for a lot of the route you seek. The road from Hwy. 1 to San Isidro is very very rough after 10 miles plus the Baja 1000 is using it in a couple weeks.



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[*] posted on 11-3-2017 at 10:32 PM


I did read your report from last February and enjoyed it. I had been there in January this year and visited many of the same locations between Puerto Escondido and Mulege and San Javier. Thanks for that. I do remember you said the road to San Isidiro was rough, but just re-read and you said trucks only. How much ground clearance is required? I will be there just after the 1000 is complete. What is their impact to the road conditions, exactly? At this point I'd have to assume a wrangler or tacoma will be able to complete this road but not a rental sedan.

From your report and others I believe the road from San Javier to los Comondus is straight out of the question. I won't have tools but for the jack and will be solo. So I don't want to get too silly.

That leaves the road south from San Javier. And I don't believe that is covered in your report. Anyone have a report for that route this time of year?

Were there many bad storms this year that affected roads? I didn't hear of anything too bad, but am interested in more recent information if it exists..

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[*] posted on 11-4-2017 at 09:56 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Gscott  
I did read your report from last February and enjoyed it. I had been there in January this year and visited many of the same locations between Puerto Escondido and Mulege and San Javier. Thanks for that. I do remember you said the road to San Isidiro was rough, but just re-read and you said trucks only. How much ground clearance is required? I will be there just after the 1000 is complete. What is their impact to the road conditions, exactly? At this point I'd have to assume a wrangler or tacoma will be able to complete this road but not a rental sedan.

From your report and others I believe the road from San Javier to los Comondus is straight out of the question. I won't have tools but for the jack and will be solo. So I don't want to get too silly.

That leaves the road south from San Javier. And I don't believe that is covered in your report. Anyone have a report for that route this time of year?

Were there many bad storms this year that affected roads? I didn't hear of anything too bad, but am interested in more recent information if it exists..



The Hwy. 1 (south of Bahía Concepción) to San Isidro ( next to La Purísima) road is just pure hell unless you are in no hurry. I am sure some local sedans go over it, but shouldn't. It is definitely for pickups or SUVs. Especially after the Baja 1000 tears it up even more.

The road from San Javier to Comondú was reported fixed after my February trip. A Nomad reported about the bulldozer operator fixing the road (in March maybe?) drove it off the road and rolled it? In any case, that really bad grade up, then down between Palo Chino and El Horno was the only 4WD part of the road and it may have been fixed since I was on it.

That being the case going to Comondú is probably fine in a 2WD truck now. It is a better drive than the San Isidro to Hwy. 1 road we just talked about! The Comondú to San Isidro road is very good... only bumpy for a couple miles as you climb out of the Comondú valley.

I did not drive the San Javier south to Santo Domingo area road but others here have. A few stream crossings but nothing needing 4WD is what I gathered. Remember, you have paved roads going to La Purísima, San Isidro, and San Miguel Comondú, from the south, and San Javier from the east. The only road I would not recommend is the San Isidro to Hwy. 1 road.

I look forward to your trip report and photos!




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[*] posted on 11-4-2017 at 10:45 AM


Just after Thanksgiving last year, I drove all three roads you are talking about. I would agree with Davids assessment of the roads going north from the San Javier road, and west from highway one, with one concern. Tropical storm Lidia washed that area pretty good at the end of August. I don't recall reports of damage or repairs since then.

The road south and west from San Javier was in pretty good shape, and I never felt a need to put the hubs in, but as DK mentioned, there are numerous arroyo crossings! None of them were deep enough, or soft enough to be a problem, but again there are no recent reports of damage or repairs.

The road running north to La Purisima was my favorite, or you could head west through San Miguel Commondu on a paved road. Maybe do a loop headed north and west, then south to the turn off near Santo Domingo, then west back through San Javier to Loreto again.




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[*] posted on 11-4-2017 at 11:10 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Quote: Originally posted by Gscott  
I did read your report from last February and enjoyed it. I had been there in January this year and visited many of the same locations between Puerto Escondido and Mulege and San Javier. Thanks for that. I do remember you said the road to San Isidiro was rough, but just re-read and you said trucks only. How much ground clearance is required? I will be there just after the 1000 is complete. What is their impact to the road conditions, exactly? At this point I'd have to assume a wrangler or tacoma will be able to complete this road but not a rental sedan.

From your report and others I believe the road from San Javier to los Comondus is straight out of the question. I won't have tools but for the jack and will be solo. So I don't want to get too silly.

That leaves the road south from San Javier. And I don't believe that is covered in your report. Anyone have a report for that route this time of year?

Were there many bad storms this year that affected roads? I didn't hear of anything too bad, but am interested in more recent information if it exists..



The road from San Javier to Comondú was reported fixed after my February trip. A Nomad reported about the bulldozer operator fixing the road (in March maybe?) drove it off the road and rolled it? In any case, that really bad grade up, then down between Palo Chino and El Horno was the only 4WD part of the road and it may have been fixed since I was on it.

That being the case going to Comondú is probably fine in a 2WD truck now. It is a better drive than the San Isidro to Hwy. 1 road we just talked about! The Comondú to San Isidro road is very good... only bumpy for a couple miles as you climb out of the Comondú valley.


That was my report from March, it was not a dozer but a large front end loader that lost its brakes near the top of the grade. The young operator put it on its side and skidded to a stop against the cliff side. Only had a few scratches but plenty of adrenalin. He had a very close call. I have heard nothing about that road since the summer rains. There is a good possibility that I will be on that road in two weeks and if so will post conditions. I agree that the road east from San Isidro was in very bad shape. I was in low range for many miles. A friend was pre-running that section this week and is due home today. I asked him to call me about that section and if I learn anything I will post it. I am leaving Monday, motorcycling to Mulege/Loreto where I am meeting a friend who keeps a 4wd Bronco there which we plan to take on that route. That should be around 11/13-14.
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[*] posted on 11-4-2017 at 12:23 PM


Thank you, both (Kurt and AK) for supplementing!
I look forward to the updates.
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[*] posted on 11-4-2017 at 10:12 PM


Thanks for the input all.
I had read Kurt's report, I believe, if he was riding a moto. It sounded pretty rough, and since there haven't been recent reports I had ruled it out. Maybe that will be an option after all.

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[*] posted on 11-5-2017 at 11:01 AM


Not sure you asked about it but we just did the dirt road from Comondu to La Purisima/San Isidro. We were in a rental Jeep Wrangler. Trying to connect mission to mission on a loop we were doing. It was pretty gnarly back in there. Slow going and high clearance. Would not attempt in anything lower than a Jeep or truck. Only traffic we saw were 2 KTMs. Sure was gorgeous in there though.
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[*] posted on 11-5-2017 at 11:05 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Gscott  
Thanks for the input all.
I had read Kurt's report, I believe, if he was riding a moto. It sounded pretty rough, and since there haven't been recent reports I had ruled it out. Maybe that will be an option after all.


No moto on that trip, I was in our old 4wd Explorer.
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[*] posted on 11-5-2017 at 06:15 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Beagle  
Not sure you asked about it but we just did the dirt road from Comondu to La Purisima/San Isidro. We were in a rental Jeep Wrangler. Trying to connect mission to mission on a loop we were doing. It was pretty gnarly back in there. Slow going and high clearance. Would not attempt in anything lower than a Jeep or truck. Only traffic we saw were 2 KTMs. Sure was gorgeous in there though.


Yup, that's what I'd expect.
I went through both Comondu and La Purisima in March and the roads were gnarly then. With weather and the Baja Mil, I can cross them off this years list. The road west from San Javier hasn't ever been as gnarly in the years I've been riding through.




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[*] posted on 11-5-2017 at 06:57 PM


Loreto to La Purisima on pavement since the August rain is OK in any car. That said, the locals discouraged us in a GMC Yukon from trying to continue to Comondu through San Isidro. They said the washes were still pretty bad.

Tried on another day in a big Ford Diesel 4WD to go from the turnoff from the San Javier road to Comondú and bailed out with a very iffy turnabout after maybe 10 miles. Not water, just very eroded roadbed.

South route through San Javier will probably still have some water fording issues in the first 10 miles from SJ, but should be OK the rest of the way to Santo Domingo. I think that's 68K of big gravel and washboard. Not a very nice thing to do to your car to get somewhere that has much easier access.

As far as after the 1,000 goes; all bets off, they can leave a hell of a mess that takes weeks to get back to normally bad.




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[*] posted on 11-5-2017 at 08:06 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Sweetwater  


The road west from San Javier hasn't ever been as gnarly in the years I've been riding through.


Sweetwater, do you mean that the road west hasn't ever been as gnarly as the other roads, or as it is right now?

I believe that I was fortunate to drive that route then north to the Commondus after it had been repaired enough to run a race on it.

The same thing happened on the run from San Isidro over to hwy 1 in 2014. It was reported to be 'impassable' after Norbert and Odile, but emergency repairs were made to get it open enough for the Baja 1k.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2017 at 10:55 AM


To help with any confusion about what roads are being discussed...



I traveled the dirt roads here last February and the paved roads to La Purísima and Comondú last August.

The small section I labeled '4WD' between Palo Chino and El Horno may have been repaired since February. The rest of the road from San Javier to Comondú was perfectly fine for 2WD.

The road from Comondú to San Isidro (La Purísima) was very fast except for a couple of rough miles leaving the Comondú valley.

The road northeast from Comondú was abandoned and had no traffic on the north end, near the junction to Rancho San Juan (and to the Comondú Viejo ruins).

The road from San Isidro (near La Purísima) to Hwy. 1, north of Loreto was VERY BAD, rocky, rough, slow, not maintained... except for the 10 miles nearest Hwy. 1, which were smooth.

[Edited on 11-6-2017 by David K]




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[*] posted on 11-6-2017 at 10:59 AM




As noted, the road from Loreto to San Javier is paved and maintained. The road from San Javier on west to near Santo Domingo is graded dirt.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2017 at 04:23 PM


I think that was me that reported the rolled tractor between Comondu and San Javier as I was there in March and there was a rolled tractor. I would not recommend this road by yourself in a rental vehicle. It was very rock and used by local off-road race series. With a travel buddy and off-road tires and a couple spares it's a fun section.
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[*] posted on 11-6-2017 at 04:42 PM


Quote: Originally posted by y2kbaja  
I think that was me that reported the rolled tractor between Comondu and San Javier as I was there in March and there was a rolled tractor. I would not recommend this road by yourself in a rental vehicle. It was very rock and used by local off-road race series. With a travel buddy and off-road tires and a couple spares it's a fun section.


Thanks!
I hope to hear from anyone who has driven between San Javier and Comondú since March to confirm the road has graded up and down that mesa. It was pretty gnarly last February, but only on those two grades.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2017 at 04:50 PM


When I drove that section last year, the washed out areas had been repaired, or at least made passable for a race. The couple of gnarly spots that I remember on the steeper section were down to bed rock. A grader can't do much with that!



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[*] posted on 11-7-2017 at 07:21 AM


just drove this last week in my dodge 4WD w/37's and it was easy ... nothing different and no grading but it didn't really need it ... the steep section is hard rock and it wasn't gnarly just go slow ... the rest was, "well Baja beauty" ... always love it because it sees such little traffic ... also ran thru the No Wimps on the same trip in the truck for the first time in a year or so and its all cleaned up WITH a grader




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[*] posted on 11-7-2017 at 07:31 AM


K59.5 to La Purisma ... That's backwards on the Baja 1000 course ... their will be race traffic on that until Nov 18/19 as race vehicles are recovered etc...and after it will be chewed up from the race traffic ... 2 weeks ago I went thru San Javier to Insurgentes and their were many water crossings and the rocks at the crossings were loose but I am sure by the time the race is complete they will be fine. It was green green and more green back there.

Quote: Originally posted by Gscott  
I'll be flying to Loreto later this month.. I'd like to try to explore the mountains west of Loreto a bit, at a minimum, and hopefully drive through to the Pacific Side. I'd prefer to make the Hwy 1 loop through La Purisima and out, down to Ciudad Insurgentes, and back up the inside. But obviously I'll be doing it in a rented car or perhaps a 4x4 like a stock jeep wrangler or toyota tacoma.

What is the condition of the gravel "Hwy 1" road north of Loreto at KM 59 west through San Isidro and La Purisima? Will a standard rental car make this trip, even at a grueling slow pace? (with new tires and careful driving). The jeep?

Or, what about the gravel road continuing south out of San Javier? How far will I get in a rental car before running into trouble crossing streams and such? Is a rental jeep fine to make this trip to Santo Domingo?

Anyone have suggestions to get up in the hills to explore a little bit?

Last year I went as far as San Javier, Mulege and Tripui but never left the pavement. Maybe I missed some opportunities?

Or do I need to stay on pavement until I can get my own vehicle down there? Thanks!

[Edited on 11-4-2017 by Gscott]




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