4:45 round trip following the DPS route. Crossing the lava field near the beginning was actually fun, though the route becomes sandy and less fun after that (especially near the summit). The views to the Gulf of California and all the craters and cinder cones from the top is amazing though.
We drove in the day before the hike and camped at Cono Rojo. It was quite warm, and very buggy. The recent heavy rains have brought much wild flower bloom, and also mosquitoes and other biting insects. We started out before dawn, but the heat came quickly and the temperatures were in the 90s by the time we got back to the cars. I'm glad to have this one done.
I was up by 5:20 a.m. and headed south from Organ Pipe National Monument campground by six a.m. Crossing the border went easily, and once through Sonoita, MX was on good road to KM 51, which was where the entrance to the park is located. Although technically still closed (the sign said it opened at 9:00 a.m.), I found some one there who could let me in. After filling out the forms, etc., I was off on good dirt road for about 2.5 miles, then took the road to Cono Rojo. The road deteriorates as it crosses lava fields. I suffered a punctured tire along here. It's about 14 miles from the main dirt road to the end, where one begins to hike the mountain. There is a way to avoid most of the lava flow, and it's not taking the way most go. In any case, it took me about six hours to hike the 8+ miles round trip.
The park ranger was friendly, helpful and spoke good English. He said that climbing the peak would take far longer than we thought (something like 10-12 hrs versus 5 hrs listed in the DPS guide) but this appeared to be based on the assumption that both you were a slower hiker and you were following some kind of established trail that is different from the DPS route (and less direct). The DPS route took us around 5-6 hours and doesn't present any serious difficulties. Views from the top are fantastic and the area itself is fascinating, not like anything I've seen in the US.
Led a fair sized group in to grab the peak only to be told at the gate we couldn't approach the volcano. First we were told it was due to restoration projects that were going on and we'd need approval from the head guy. Once he showed up we were told it wasn't safe to be in that particular area of the reserve due to security concerns they weren't allowed to talk about.
Easy, fun day with Tom, below. Trip Report
Day 3 of the DPS-orama with Bob Burd. Cold and windy with low clouds blocking much of the view. Climbed Carnegie afterwards and took a direct route back to the car.
A beautiful, utterly alien place: lava fields, vents, craters, sands, and a beautiful volcano to top it all off! We hike parts of the old road and some cross country going up. Loved every minute of it and would go back again in the future! My report: Pinacate Peak (www.surgent.net) Jan 6-2009.
A wonderful little cinder cone located far off the beaten path.