By David Kier
Baja California continues to provide new and interesting discoveries and Rancho El Sauce with its campground, cabins, and spring fed pools is another example of this.
The ranch is a recreation retreat operated by Clarissa Alcides and her father. There are no signs advertising the retreat in the desert hills making it even more of a surprise when you arrive and are welcomed as guests by the staff. They have wading pools fed by springs, camping palapas, and three cabins that rent for 300 pesos if you prefer to not sleep under the stars. The cabins have a shower and toilet but no bedding.
The road to El Sauce leaves Highway 1 just south of the Km. 82 marker, 15.5 miles from the Baja Cactus gas station and motel of El Rosario. The road is dusty but does not require 4WD as it slowly climbs towards Mesa la Sepultura where it meets El Camino Real. The mission trail, here between Mission San Fernando and Mission Rosario, is not more than a cattle path and for a couple miles overlaid by the auto road that together drops down to Arroyo El Sauce. There, the Camino Real turns right and the road to Rancho El Sauce turns left.
The entrance to the ranch/campground is 5.6 miles from Highway 1 and the ranch compound is 6.2 miles from the highway. There is a kitchen, wading pools, fruit trees, and cactus gardens. The cabins are just beyond, and the staff is happy to show them to you, if unoccupied. I was the only visitor on a sunny March day but maybe in the crowds come during Easter or other holidays?
David Kier is a veteran Baja traveler, author of 'Baja California - Land Of Missions' and co-author of 'The Old Missions of Baja and Alta California 1697-1834'. Visit the Old Missions website.