GUAAAAAAADALUUUUUUPEEEEEE!!!! Man oh man, this was such an out of this world trip. A little background behind this place before I start. The Sea of Cortez split Baja California and mainland Mexico around 6-10 million years ago, Guadalupe Canyon hot springs has been barfing out hot water ever since.
This place is not for everyone, if you are expecting jet bubble jacuzzis and bottle service go to Vegas, or hell, same place. Guadalupe Canyon is the spot you go when you want to car camp next to a primitive concrete hot tub filled by hot spring water spewing out from a garden hose. You will get dirty, you will get naked and you will blackout and wake up with a pretzel stuck to your balls.
Some essentials to bring with are: Beer, Ice, Food, Water, Wood, Ganga and maybe a towel. We camped out in the camper shell of my truck, you may want to bring a tent to sleep in. There are 20 campsites and all of them have their own private hot tub. Our personal favorites are El Castillo, La Mirador, El Sol and El Aguila. If you chose to drive your own vehicle you better have high clearance or you will hate your life. There are two routes there, one is a road that hugs the eastern side of the canyon, it is very slow going and will test your patience. The other way is to drive right through Laguna Salada which hopefully is dry. When we drove there it was dry and as I write this now it is 2 feet of mud. If you can, take the dry lake bed. We topped out at 80 driving across it, definitely one of the funnest parts of the trip. On the way back it began to rain and we were driving in 6in of mud in my stock 2wd 1998 Tacoma PreRunner, this was definitely the SKETCHIEST part of the trip.
Once you are out there you will not have cell phone reception, you won’t need it cuz you will be too busy pounding beers/butt cheeks and hoagie slapping your wang against a cactus. Spend at least two nights (you actually have to), we spent three. Make sure you aren’t too hungover to hike up to the waterfalls. There are 3 sets of them, the first is about 20 min away, the second is an hour and the last ones are 2 hours from what we heard, we didn’t have enough daylight to make it there to confirm. All of the falls are jumpable most of the year, we got kinda screwed cuz they were only 4 feet at the deepest due to sand from the rains. There are cliffs up to 60 feet to jump if you have the cajones.
While in the canyon we met a dude named Greg who has been going there since the 70’s, he was kind enough to show us around and introduce us to Oscar who runs the place. He also showed us some old photos he had taken in the canyon over the years, totally awesome shit.
The best time of year to visit is later winter/early spring, the temps are mellow and the nights are long. Summers get up to 120 in the canyon. Driving there from LA takes about 6 hours. We went the back way through Brawley and Calexico and camped at 5 Palms Hot Spring, I suggest you do the same.
Follow the signs.
Bring your own wood, save some $$$
La Mirador our campsite for the first 2 nights.
Sunrise from the camper shell.
Breakfast sponsored by Top Ramen™ brand ramen by Nissin, for the best ramen on the planet eat Nissin.
Hiked to the falls, sparked some doobage and jumped in.
Hiked back with Greg and met up with one of the dudes running the place, Oscar.
El Castillo campsite with Greg and some folks we met from Pennsylvania. We ended up staying here for one more night.
Our own private hot tub and swimming pool at El Castillo
The cutest girl I know.
Some historic photos of Greg jerking his beef.
Greg owned this limo in the 80’s and it made it out there, can your Prius do that?
Mystery machine from the 70’s with hippies more stonded than you have ever been.
My poor baby after we drove her 37 miles through the Laguna Salada in the rain.