Northern Mountains

This section, more a geographical than a vegetation or biogeographical region, is not found along the main trans-peninsular highway.   It is included here because of its novelty in an otherwise dry peninsula and the -feasibility of visiting it on a day trip from towns along the main highway.  Several National Parks are found in the higher terrain of northern Baja California and these are mostly accessible by paved roads.  We discuss only one here, the Parque Nacional Sierra San Pedro Martir, because we have not recently visited the other park and the San Pedro Martir has some interesting aspects that are not well-known by most travelers to the peninsula.

The approximate location of the “Northern Mountains”. Three high points are also shown. The southernmost is isolated and small but has the southernmost locations for a number of species with more northerly affinities.

The road to the mountains passes first through chaparral before climbing into the Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi) and White Fir (Abies concolor) forests. Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) are also found in this high altitude forest. In fact, this is the southernmost location for Sugar and Lodgepole pines. There is a relatively large area (perhaps 20 x 8 miles) above 7000 ft, and the main observatory is at about 9200 ft.

A recent addition to the natural attractions of the northern mountains is the California Condor, which was on the verge of extinction in the late 1980’s. After a captive breeding effort at the San Diego and Los Angeles Zoos and gradual reintroductions into the wild, the California Condor is now found in five regions of the southwest. One is in northern Baja California.

The locations of California Condor populations in southwestern North America from Inaturalist observations.

A closer view of the location of Inaturalist sightings of California Condors in northern Baja California. There are about 25 birds in this population of condors.

Below are some photos of landscapes and biota seen during our recent trip. I have put text in the captions of each image

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