Overlanding the Incredible Trails of Baja Sur

Using our 2002 Toyota Tacoma with a 3.4-liter V-6, we embarked on a Baja overland adventure through one of the last frontiers on the North American continent. Read on for our account.  

We awoke to the cries of coyotes in the distance as the sun illuminated the eastern horizon. Rekindling the campfire and pouring a cuppa joe, we thought about our previous afternoon’s debacle deep in the Sierra La Giganta. We had followed a thin red line on the map in an attempt to locate a backway to San Ignacio but our ’02 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 ended up pointed at the dead-end of a precipitous arroyo shelf road. Cautiously retreating, our decision to travel solo was at the forefront. But this was Baja Sur, La Frontera, the land of Spanish missions and conquistadors, and what is a south-of-the-border adventure without an occasional infusion of adrenalin?

The trail from Las Barillas to La Paz is a narrow two-track above the Sea of Cortés.

Although most visitors witness the peninsula from 30,000 feet while en route to the tequila-soaked tourist hub of Cabo San Lucas, one must put tires to terra firma to experience the nuances of this magical place. We had departed San Jose del Cabo 10 days earlier in our Tacoma to search out Baja’s hidden gems, savor its culinary delights, and explore the depths of its storied chronicle. This would only be done by turning off the tarmac and taking a left, or right, on its endless backroads.

If you get away from the tourist routes it is easy to find a secluded spot to pitch your tent.

Age of Discovery

The discovery of much of the New World was well-documented, but written records of Baja California’s earliest contact with Europeans

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