Baja and Colorado River Delta

Anyone ever cross the Delta area in the far northern Cortes? I’m just starting to plan a trip there for this Fall and am thinking of leaving from El Golfo de Santa Clara and crossing over to San Felipe, then heading south to Mulege.

I’m looking for any advice on dealing with the tides in the delta area, especially: 1) timing the tides to take advantage of the ebb, if possible, and/or not getting mud-bound; 2) camping possibilities on Isla Montague (or elsewhere); 3)any cautions/advice on crossing the main channel of the Colorado; 4)dealing with any potential tidal bores or otherwise crazy water; and, 5) any other general advice or experiences you’ve had with this area.

I’ve read what Ed Darack had to say about the area. I’ve also seen Greg Joder’s article in Sea Kayaker (Dec 07)and have emailed with him a little, but I’m interested in hearing from others as well.

I’d appreciate any advice or information. Thanks.


I have paddled in the Puerto Penasco area. I was told that the Colorado river does not even reach the sea of Cortez anymore. Maybe that was in a dry year? I don’t think you need to worry about tide bores there. However the Sea of Cortez does have huge changes in tides so be careful where you camp. A bigger issue is the winds that come up in the afternoons … it will be calm and then 50 mph. You don’t want to be offshore when that happens.

Colorado River Delta
I just read a very good book called Wet Desert, it’s a crime fiction about the Colorado and the aftermath of a bomb destroying Glen Canyon Dam. (Great read, by the way!) It talks about the Delta and how the Southwest states are taking almost all the water from the river, and what’s left gets diverted down the aqueduct to Tijuana. I think it’s rare that anything makes it to the Sea of Cortez.

Here are some aerial shots of the Colorado River Delta. I think when the tide comes up from the Sea of Cortez, you may almost get river water / salt water blending… but I see lots of sand in these Bureau of Rec shots: