Located just a few miles north of Rocky Point, Mexico, El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve is a 600-square-mile volcanic region. It has over 400 cinder cones that were created by exploding volcanoes. Also, the reserve has tunnels (lava tubes), ash, lava fields, and lava rocks, scattered all around the area. And, it has two GIANT VOLCANOES!
The largest volcano in the El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve
El Elegante, the largest of the bunch, has a one-mile-diameter crater. And, this GIANT VOLCANO has a rim trail! That means you can hike its entire 3.14159-mile circumference, while enjoying the spectacular view from every angle. Also, peer down into its almost 800-foot deep chasm during your hike. It’s spectacular, to say the least.
The second-largest volcano in the reserve
There’s another GIANT VOLCANO, called Cerro Colorado. It’s almost as HUGE as El Elegante. Notice its red-rock landscape – almost as if Cerro Colorado is from another region, altogether. Some would argue that this GIANT VOLCANO is the most beautiful of the bunch. But, come and see them all. Then, YOU can pick YOUR favorite.
Mostly untouched by humans
El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve is one of the few archaeological and geological regions in the entire North American Southwest that remains mostly untouched. But there’s an exception! In the mid-1960s and early 1970s, the Apollo astronauts trained here for their mission to the moon. They chose this area for its rough, barren landscape, calling it the closest match they could find to the lunar surface. Of course, it turned out to be much rougher than the surface of the moon. Therefore, they were “over prepared,” which is a good thing, right?
The official name of the reserve is “El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve.” UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization named the reserve a World Heritage Site, back in 2013. And, this reserve is one of the most significant visible land-formations in North America, seen from space.
Nine giant volcanic craters, called “maar volcanoes,” are scattered all around the El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve. They were formed about the same time as the other cinder cones in the area. But, they were formed differently – much more violently. They exploded with a much greater force than the smaller cinder cones. Hot magma came into contact with the ground water, creating massive steam pressure. This process explains why the craters of El Elegante and Cerro Colorado are so GIANT.
The Pinacate Peaks – Picos del Pinacate
Being the tallest feature of El Pinacate, the Pinacate Peaks are a cluster of cinder cones situated within the reserve. Cerro del Pinacate, also called the Santa Clara volcano, is the highest peak, with an elevation of 3904 feet. Next, Carnegie Peak is a close second, with an elevation of 3707 feet.
A little history
In 1698, a priest named Eusebio Kino, who was the founder of Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson, Arizona, traveled to El Pinacate several times. He had climbed to the top of Cerro del Pinacate, in order to prove that Baja California was not an island, but a peninsula, which was the belief back then. Unfortunately, he was not able to see that far from the top. But, he was in awe, nonetheless.
Questions about Rocky Point?
If you have any questions about Rocky Point, Mexico, or if you have interest in purchasing a beach home or a condo in a world-class, beach-front resort, please click HERE to send me a message. I’ll be glad to answer any questions about Rocky Point AND Susie Flinn, of Rocky Point Real Estate By the Sea, and I, will be happy to assist you with purchasing Real Estate. Susie Flinn is Rocky Point’s premier real-estate broker, with over 11 years of experience selling real estate in Rocky Point, Mexico.
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