By Dave Kelly, co-author of “Hiking Loreto”
Located a short drive south of Loreto is Puerto Escondido, a beautiful protected harbor with a new marina. Just to the south of Puerto Escondido is Rattlesnake Beach, a small fishing camp and popular primitive camping spot. The beach itself is not of the white sand variety, but somewhat rocky. From the beach you can walk south along the coast for miles and miles. The beachcombing is excellent and you may see dolphins, whales, Giant Manta rays leaping from the water, or even a whale shark. Heading north on the shore for fifty yards you’ll find the Hart trail.
This trail climbs the mountain between Rattlesnake Beach and Puerto Escondido. The trail is a bit steep, but short and well marked. The views from the summit are wonderful. Looking to the south, Isla Danzante takes the shape of a mythological dragon, with Islas Montserrat and Santa Catalina looming in the distance. To the west the jagged Sierra de la Giganta mountains rise from the desert floor, cut by deep canyons creating silhouettes that tease your imagination. From the summit you can return the way you came or continue down a trail to Puerto Escondido. There is a restaurant and tienda at the port, as well as an assortment of sailing vessels and glitzy yachts. From the port follow the road back past the Tripui Hotel to your car. The hotel is quite nice and also has a nice bar and restaurant.
To get to Rattlesnake Beach, drive south on Highway 1 for about 20 miles to the turn for Puerto Escondido and turn left towards the port. After about two-tenths of a mile, look for a good dirt road on the right (just before the RV park). Take this turn and follow the main dirt road to the very left-hand end of Rattlesnake Beach. The trail begins at a sign painted on a rock at the far left end of the beach.
Find this hike and more in the Hiking Loreto guide book, available in Loreto at: The Rick Jackson Gallery, Caballo Blanco bookstore, Geckos Curios and Gavilon.
Also available on line at HikingLoreto.com and through Discover Baja