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Rancho Viejo, Mexico

Hike the Sierra Huerfana

17 Miles Total - 3444.9 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Sergio Müller

Hike the southernmost Sky Island in the Sonoran Desert. Start in the desert and hike up to an oak forest.

The Sierra Huerfana is located 1.5 hours east of Hermosillo City, in the heart of the Sonoran desert. 

To get here you drive to the town of Rancho Viejo, through the Ures, on a dirt road since it is more well maintained. You can start your walk from the town's plaza, or just drop a Google Maps pin in the middle of the mountain and drive your car as far as the ranch roads can let you without getting stuck. Which can be just before the first river crossing if you don't have a 4x4. The pin now is at the town square. If you do drive a 4x4 here's the coordinates to the trailhead start 29°07'23.5"N 110°17'16.3"W.

You'll walk ~4 kms on an, almost unmaintained, dirt road without gaining too much elevation. The roadside is full of desert plants, impenetrable in the summer months, when the monsoon is in full force. The next 6 kms are switchbacks, the first one being the most tiresome. After that, the mountain top is a flatland full of cows and horses, just keep hiking to the spot you like the most.

Fully trained and with a steady pace, it took us 3:15 hours (one way, ~13.6 kms) in the winter to make it to the top. Our party consumed between 2 and 4 liters of water per person. You could filter some water up there, but I wouldn't recommend it unless it is an emergency, since the place is full of cattle ranches.  

Warnings: In summer you can get caught in the middle of a thunderstorm, and there are a few abandoned structures where you could seek refugee. In winter, there is almost no shade were you could take a rest until you are at the top.  

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Picnic Area


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