Route: Mexican Desert - Parral, Chihuahua to Guanajuato - March 21 to April 14, 2007


The ride south from Parral was beautiful desert, but a bit too much of it. We had some pleasant remote campsites, but it was a lot of desert, without a lot of changes. If you're inclined to take a bus, Parral to Zacatecas is a good place to take up your inclination. We did get on a bus from Durango to Zacatecas.

All of the road from Parral to Durango was quite pleasant, with little traffic and no problems. We didn't have any trouble with resupply, although there were some mighty small stores in some of the villages.

We spent a delightful week in Zacatecas doing language school and enjoying their Cultural Week, which is a truly world-class event.

South of Zacatecas was more desert, but with a bit more variety. We thoroughly enjoyed the backroads path we took in some of the areas, especially some dirt road riding on the last 3 days - the ride through back roads to Ojuelos was great, and then the big ridge over to Guanajuato was fantastic - a big climb on a dirt road, and well worth it..

Most of these roads were also fine, with moderate traffic.

Nancy's notes

On the way out of Zacatecas along this route you can stop at Cuauhtemec and have a bit to eat at one of the road side restaurant. We talked to the owner for hours and he was great about educating us to what is happening in the area. He had worked in the US so he very fond of travelers coming for up north.

We where told about an alternative route that would not take us on the busy road from San Felipe to Delores Hidalgo and it turned out to be very nice alternative: We went south at San Felipe and made our way to Guanajuato. From Guanajuato we rode a great road to Delores Hidalgo which has the greatest pottery in the world. Take a visit to one of the factories and watch the artist work.

Here is the route:Go south at San Felipe toward Arraste and at Arraste turn left. Before the left hand turn about 500yards back on the right side of the road is is a small small tienda that actually serves wonderful cooked meals, for a great price. She also has some good food fresh food to take on the road. The young lady that owns and runs it was so shy and generous at the same time. She has water in the back that you can filter.

The road you will take is a very good dirt road that will bring you into Guanajuato, the back road way. You will climb a 1000 feet give or take a 1000 feet. About halfway on this road there is a school we camped at. We asked the neighbors across from the school and they said it would be the best place to camp. There is nothing else but one house, some cows and some really upset donkeys that let everyone know for 50 miles they are not happy but they quit the racket at dark. To the right of the school there is a pasture to camp on. The school was closed so there was no bathroom facilities available. An old man and his grand children will most likely come visit you and sit and watch you for an hour or two. He is older then god and quite photogenic.

The rest of the ride to Guanajuato is just as amazing as the first sections with changing landscape on the other side of the pass. I felt like I entered another world of red colored earth and adobe houses scattered through out the hills.

Ridedatemiles/km Elev ft/mt
Parral, Chih to Desert2007-03-2127/441332/411
Desert south of Parral to Las Nieves, Durango2007-03-2230/481259/389
Las Nieves, Durango to Desert2007-03-2441/662007/619
Desert, Durango to Desert, Durango2007-03-2552/841243/384
Desert durango to Rodeo, Durango2007-03-2624/39419/129
Rodeo, Durango to San Lucas, Durango2007-03-2748/773179/981
San Lucas, Durango to Durango, Mexico2007-03-2840/651000/309
Zacatecas to Luis Moya2007-04-0942/681210/373
Luis Moya to Los Campos2007-04-1054/871177/363
Los Campos to Ocampo, Guanajuato2007-04-1138/611128/348
Ocampo, Guanajuato to Santiaguillo, Guanajuato2007-04-1345/731696/523
Santiaguillo to Guanajuato2007-04-1418/291938/598