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near Puerto de Santa Rosa, Guanajuato (Mexico)
A moderate yet fairly long loop hike with many attractions: Great views, varied terrain, good trail, a wonderful ex-Hacienda full of roses, a wide variety of other flora, mushrooms. two creeks and more.
The trail starts at the end of Presa de Peralillo, a wonderful lake tucked in the mountains to the SE of Santa Rosa high above Guanajuato.
about 3/4 of the way down the west side of the lake at short arm, the trail starts up a narrow valley towards a high ridge. Follow the trail a short distance (1/4 km) and it crosses a small creek in a southerly direction as the valley starts to narrow. From here the trail continues up to the south. Stay on this main trail as it heads up the side of the mountain with a series of cliffs seen across the small valley to the east.
A cliff (and great rest stop) where the trail hits a large meadow and joins a dirt road heading south towards the ruins of the Hacienda. (As the trail crosses a small creek coming down from the west, switch back to head up to the meadow. The other trail to the right continues up to a summit slightly to the north.
Although this isn't much of a summit, as the mountain continues higher to the north, this is the high point of the trail for some time. This great rest stop affords great views to the east the lake below.
Behind the cliff/viewpoint is a large meadow. Along the south side of the meadow is a dirt road. At the end of the meadow nearest the viewpoint, the road heads slightly uphill and south. Take this direction towards the ruins.
At this point the road forks. The right fork heads up to the weather station and over to El Cubo on the Guanajuato side of the ridge and the left fork heads down to the ruins of the Hacienda
As the road from the ruins to the valley below begins to descend more quickly, where it abruptly switchbacks left, a cliff can be seen straight ahead to to the left of that a short trail to a pool and waterfall (likely dry much of the year).
The road from the ruins descends into a valley where a large meadow full of wildfires and a campsite allows a choice of roots. Straight ahead, a trail heads up a short valley (with interesting side valley of tall cliffs), connecting to a long unused path/road at the pass. This road appears to be centuries old, continuing west to a the lowest pass on this very long ridge extending southward from Santa Rosa. Beyond this pass is Taja de Delores and the El Cubu active mine (but with possible access towards Guanajuato. HOWEVER, this loop trail does not head up this valley BUT INSTEAD turn due east from the meadow following a creek to the main valley running south of Presa de Peralillo.
After about 10-15 minutes following the creek leading east from the meadow, you will come to the main valley and creek leading south from Presa de Peralillo. Here you cross the creek and head left and up back towards the start of the trail. The trail to the right continues down the main valley. It is still a long walk up the main valley but it is a slow generally gradual ascent through a heavily wooded forest and following a good-sized creek that appears to have water running all year round.
While the main trail continues on the west side of the creek, I prefer to cross at this point and follow the trail on the east side before crossing back a short distance later.
After you climb to the left away from the heavily wooded creek you come upon a series of meadows with Aspen and fruit trees.
At the end of the largest meadow a decent road heads off the northeast side and eventually to the dam at the south end of the lake (and along the lake back to the trailhead). While this is perhaps the most logical way back it is more sun-exposed (and can be a busy road), so we headed off the northwest side of the meadow and up what may or may not be trails towards the west side of the dam. You have the option of heading even further west and bypassing one of the inlets on the southwest end of the lake.