When we lived in CO, we enjoyed spending time outdoors and took advantage of the endless hiking opportunities that were right in our backyard. Thus, when we moved to Rosarito, we sought out those types of activities here in Mexico as well. What we have found is that there are so many hidden gems, but often they are unknown to mainstream travel guides and it’s hard to find any pictures or information about them online! Often you only find out about them through word of mouth…and then of course, finding them is always an adventure. Two of these fabulous sites are the Cerro El Coronel and El Salto Canyon hikes, both of which we found out about by talking to the locals.
Cerro El Coronel
Cerro El Coronel is a mountain southeast of downtown Rosarito which, if you can figure out how to ascend it, has tremendous panoramic views of the Coronado Islands (not the one in San Diego) and the Pacific Ocean at the summit of the peak. According to the mountain’s legend, around the year 1800, a US army colonel defected and fled to Baja with a large shipment of gold. He took refuge in a cave and the story holds that the gold remains hidden to this day. Occasionally, explorers still conduct expeditions in search of the lost gold ore.
Our first experience hiking the mountain was, luckily for us, with friends who had made multiple attempts previously. Their first couple of tries were focused on simply finding the “trailhead” which, after having to drive up a dirt road to find only private property and non-public parking areas, proved to be a challenge in and of itself! They were fortunate to have friended the owners of a house nearby who granted them permission to park anytime they wanted to hike. And, this is also was not quite the type of hiking we were used to in Colorado…most notably the fact that there were no marked trails or clear hiking path. So, their next mission was to find a relatively safe path up, and then of course back down the mountain, which also took them a couple of tries. But eventually they succeeded and were excellent tour guides for us!
The 4 hour roundtrip trek was basically walking up the side of a mountain, trying to avoid prickly cacti and other plants, and constantly staying on the lookout for rattlesnakes. And then, on the way down, there was the added challenge of not falling down the mountain side with all of the loose rock and gravel, given how steep it was, and again no clear path to follow. Nonetheless, the view from the top was more than worth all of it!
El Salto Waterfall and Canyon
From the parking lot, it is a fun and easy hike to the El Salto waterfall and canyon. The less than 1 mile trek follows along the river bed of the Guadalupe River as it heads towards the Pacific Ocean. There are beautiful large oak trees to admire and great spots to picnic and camp. If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, the area is also excellent for bouldering, rock climbing and rappelling. When we went, it was the dry season so unfortunately there was no actual waterfall…but we imagine seeing the flow of water down the 100+ foot vertical cliff would be absolutely stunning!! We plan to return in a couple of months during the rainy season to witness it for ourselves!