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Pole Line Road

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

A favorite jeep track among San Felipe locals leads to rocky canyons, and hidden WWII history. Are you ready to explore Baja's Pole Line Road?

Route Overview

Adventure Rating: Epic

Trip Length: 112 miles, 1.5 - 3 days

Season: Year round, but October - May tends to be the best time to go before the Summer heat settles in.

Avg Technical Rating: 3+

Peak Technical Rating: 5

Typical Terrain: Rocky jeep tracks with some steep hills, sandy washes.

Recommended Vehicle: High clearance 4x4. May be tight for full size trucks in some sections. Recommended Gear: n/a

Adventure Vans: Sprinter 4x4s are not recommended.

Alternative Routes: Yes! See the bottom of the route guide below. Permits & Papers: Canadians and Americans are required to obtain a Mexican tourist card (FMM) and Mexican auto insurance before driving into Mexico. BajaBound.com is a fantastic resource covering all of the ins and outs of the process, which really isn't as tedious as you might think! Check out Baja Bound's FAQ page on entering/exiting Mexico. Route Status: Read (or report) the latest route status HERE

 

Route Details


The Pole Line Road is an old relic from WWII. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American military genuinely feared that the Japanese could be operating secret airfields and military bases in the sparsely populated Baja peninsula. With the permission of the Mexican government, the United States built a series of airfields in Baja to fortify the California coast. A series of radar stations weren't built in Baja, including Radar Station B-97 near San Felipe. To ensure communications between these radar stations and bases, a 150+ pole line was erected from Ensenda to San Felipe. The Pole Line Road in this route guide follows a small portion of the old Pole Line Road. Pole Line Road is a favorite among Baja and San Felipe locals looking to do a quick overnighter. It's long and technical enough that doing the entire route in a single day is downright grueling-- and we don't recommend it! Instead, most folks will spend 1-2 nights camping and exploring the trail and surrounding area. You'll know you've reached the Pole Line Road when the trail becomes a cobblestone road, and yes, you should see a series of old telephone poles that also parallels the trail. While out on the Pole Line Road, the scenery is quite typical of what you can expect outside of San Felipe. Washes, rocky trails, lots of canyons with mountains looming in the distance. Much of the Pole Line Road track is filled with rocky and eroded trails, and quite a bit of sand as well. For sections like Bad Hill, Basketball hill, and Cañon Enmedio, expect to be in 4-low and moving at tortuga speed! You may follow the primary track, or enter via the wash near La Ventana. This is fantastic track for those wishing to experience a bit of local history, while escaping some of the more crowded routes/trails that surround San Felipe. Alternate Routes to Highway 3 Many locals enter and exit Pole Line Road from Highway 3. Mano Summit, often referred to as the Baja Race Summit is the most commonly used route. However, local ranchers have erected locked gates and fences around the Los Piños Compound. Sometimes the gates are open, and sometimes they're locked, and sometimes a local ranchero will let traffic through for a nominal fee. The point is, there's no guarantee you will be able to make it over the summit, so plan accordingly. There is also an alternate North Summit Entrance that is used quite regularly as well.


Locals have identified a possible reroute around Los Pinos, but intel on this detour is sparse, but we recommend giving it a go if you're in the area.

Camping Recommendations There are dozens of spots to set up camp along the route, pick one that works best for you. Many locals camp near Mano Junction. Discovery Points

  • DP1 - Duna Sandcali

  • DP2 - El Salar

  • DP3 - Bad Hill

  • DP4 - Pole Line Road

  • DP5 - Cerro Colorado

  • DP6 - Cañon Jaquegel

  • DP7 - Basketball Hill

  • DP8 - Cañon Enmedio

  • DP9 - Airstrip

  • DP10 - Misión de Santa Catarina, B.C.

  • DP11 - Misión Cemetery

 

Maps + Navigation


Digital Mapping Files


 

Resources


Land Managers

  • n/a

Additional Resources

 


Terms of Use: Should you decide to travel a route that is published on Overlandtrailguides.com, you do so at your own risk. Always take the appropriate precautions when planning and traveling, including checking the current local weather, permit requirements, trail/road conditions, and land/road closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, and carry the appropriate safety, recovery, and navigational equipment. The information found on this site is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by Overland Trail Guides, the route accuracy and current conditions of roads and trails cannot be guaranteed.



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