Saturday, January 06, 2007
San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Salty air and fast, rolling trails combine to make San Carlos an overnight stopover during any two-wheeled foray into Sonora. The town, a laid-back gringo hideway just north of the fishing port of Guaymas, doesn't have much to offer culturally -- aside from sprawling condos and white-haired retirees decked out in Tommy Bahama beach wear. But the coastal landscape -- what's left of it at least -- is striking: a string of beaches, bays, and lagoons punctuated by rock-topped hills that look like upside down ice cream cones. The trail is smooth as silicone grease, with just enough topographic relief to give you a workout and a rollercoaster ride. A couple of laps are just about right before sitting down for a Tecate at nearby Playa Piedras Pinturas.
How to get there: From Hwy 15, head west on the four lane road that leads to San Carlos. Just after you pass the sign for Ejido Buenos Aires, you'll see a sign for the Delfinario and Miramar pointing to the left. You have to pass the sign and make a U-turn to get onto that road. From the start of this road, drive exactly 0.8 miles. Turn left on the dirt road at a sign that once said Pista Biclista and now says, "PI . . . A B . . . .TA." When I was there someone stuck a yellow Livestrong sticker in the middle of the sign. Follow this road as it veers to the right (a smaller road heads left), then take your first left where an old gate is sitting in the middle of a field. Park at the white cement block.
Length: 6.5 km. 30 minutes. ~500 feet of elevation.
Trail Conditions: Excellent.
The Ride: The main loop is well-marked with arrows and distance signs, but still a little confusing at the get-go. It begins and ends at the cement block where several dirt roads and trails converge. If you're facing away from the paved road take the singletrack to the left (north) and you'll loop around the base of a hill for the first 1 km, and it will bring you back to some doubletrack close to your starting point. Turn left here and follow this doubletrack, staying to the right as it becomes singletrack. This trail is easy to follow for the next 4 kms until you come out on some doubletrack along the side of the paved road. Follow this doubletrack north for 100 feet and the you'll be back on singletrack leading you about 1 km to your start. Although the trail is meant to be ridden in one direction, there are few riders in the area and I enjoyed riding it backwards.