To Mision Santa Maria de los Angeles


In May of 2007, Elizabeth and I (in a Toyota Tacoma) made the trip to the last mission founded by the Jesuits. Joining us (in a Land Rover LR3) was Roy and Blanche. Both Roy and I have been to the mission before, but it was our ladies' first trip over one of the toughest roads in Baja.

The road to the mission ruins begins at Rancho Santa Ynez (Ines), 300 miles south of the border on Highway One. The road was constructed by the ranch over many years to reach the mission and continue on to the Sea of Cortez where the ranch also owned property at Gonzaga Bay's Punta Final.

Construction of this ranch built road ended about 2 miles past the mission about when the new Transpeninsular Highway (Mexico #1) was completed (in December of 1973) offering faster (although longer) access to Gonzaga Bay.

The road to the mission is very steep and rocky and should only be attempted with high clearance, four wheel drive rigs. The biggest challenge is a steep grade I named the 'Widowmaker'. It caused travel partner 'Baja Mur' and I to be tossed to the ground with injuries while attempting to ride up it on a quad and motorcycle. Photos of that 1999 trip and my 2003 trip in my truck are linked on the last page of this web site.

GPS waypoints are set to map datum NAD27 Mexico to match with Mexican topo maps.

Rancho Santa Ynez

Blanche and Elizabeth chat with ranch managers Matilda ad Oscar. Good tacos and cold drinks can be ordered here before the mission voyage begins.

Santa Ynez (Santa Ines) is a mile south of Cataviña and a mile off the highway. Here find meals, rooms, and camping.

1.8 miles from the ranch is this large gully crossing. Climbing up the opposite side will be the first challenge to your four wheel drive.

A long straight, but rough stretch of road follows that gully crossing.

Peninsular Divide (elev. 2,512')

9.9 miles from the ranch is the high elevetion point of the drive. Punta Final and the Sea of Cortez come into view.

An oasis in the canyon ahead is reached after several steep down-grades.


next page