The open roads of Baja hold a special place in any off-road enthusiast’s heart. To put it frankly: there is nowhere else in the world with as much open land to satiate your craving to go fast, get dirty, discover breathtaking views...and eat tacos.
Around any given corner you are bound to see wild horses, inactive volcanoes, crashing waves and happy locals waving to you as if you are winning the Baja 1000. It’s an immeasurable beauty and a feeling of freedom that cannot be compared.
There are endless trails and towns to discover South of the border. Here are a few of our favorite spots when it comes to off-roading in Northern Baja.
Horsepower Ranch is an off-road inspired resort surrounded by vineyards and orange groves, situated just South of Ensenada and six miles from the Pacific Ocean. Horsepower is an iconic hot spot for off-road culture and will surely have a parking lot full of dialed and dirty off-road rigs. The grounds are charming and just around the corner from Valle de Guadalupe, Baja’s buzzing wine country. “Ruta del Vino” is home to over 100 wineries, farm to table restaurants and a handful of rising star chefs who are defining “Baja-Med” cuisine. Off-road adventures and award winning wine? Hold the Pacifico. As for riding, you can take to the trails alone or join in on one of Horsepower’s group rides.
Next up is Mike’s Sky Ranch, further South and more inland. Mike’s is a several thousand acre resort in the high foothills of the San Pedro Mártir. It’s the gateway to riding heaven. Not only does the ranch overlook a crystal clear creek where you can fish for trout but it also reserves bragging rights to decent deer, quail and rabbit hunting. On a race week, Mike’s Sky Ranch is buzzing with race teams. If you have always dreamed of seeing a tire change on a Trophy Truck, you might get lucky and see some pit action in this area. On any other weekend you are sure to run into a dirt bike or SxS group.
A few hour ride away from Mike’s is a small fishing village that is hard to find and even harder to leave. The few lucky speardivers, surfers and off-road enthusiasts that have stumbled upon this dusty town...always come back for more. Erendira is what frequent visitors call the “dirty South” and is more for the campers than the glampers. Accommodations are slim to none this far South, but there is an outdoor sand floor beach bar and hostel called Coyote Cal’s where you can get a hell-of-a-margarita and meet the coolest and most committed off-road junkies hanging around the firepit. The coastal trail that goes South from Erendira has an inactive volcano, a blowhole that blows up to 30 feet if the tide is right, and a bat cave. This place is the best kept secret in Baja...but now you know!
There is one town on the opposite side of the Peninsula that I will mention, on the Sea of Cortez. San Felipe is perhaps the birthplace of Baja off-road culture and also home to the recipe of Rubio’s fish taco. If you like to camp, I would stay at Pete’s Camp outside of town. There are dunes, long stretches of sand beaches and infinite off-road trails thanks to the SCORE Baja 250 race. Best of all, the mountains make a breathtaking backdrop. San Felipe is ideal in Spring or Fall and way too hot in the summer.
Truth be told, we could probably write a whole book about the best places to experience Baja off-road culture. But it’s up to you to go discover the South of the border frontier. If you are looking for specific trails, the best way to find them is by making friends with other people who have helmet hair and dirty faces...the off-road culture in Baja is very friendly! You can also find some great recommendations on All Trails. Make sure to have your safety gear dialed in for these adventures. Shop Amped for all the bells and whistles.