The Sugar Port Trail in Todos Santos, Mexico is one of the best hiking trails on the Baja Peninsula. The striking mountains, gorgeous turquoise blue water of the Pacific Ocean, and frequent wildlife sightings offshore make it an ideal spot to get some exercise and spend time in nature.
Located in the beautiful cliffs above Punta Lobos, the Sugar Port Trail in Todos Santos leads you to a secluded beach next to the old port where sugar was shipped in the early 1900s. This cove’s crystal clear waters and soft sand will make you feel you have found your own private oasis.
If you are headed to Todos Santos and want to hike the Sugar Port Trail (also known as the Old Port Trail in Todos Santos) here is everything you need to know about this popular hiking trail.
Quick facts about Sugar Port Trail in Todos Santos
- Trail names: Sugar Port Trail or Old Port Trail
- Distance: The trail to the overlook is 2.2 miles or 1.6 kilometers. If you go all the way down to the beach it’s 4.7. miles or 7.5 kilometers.
- Elevation gain: The trail to the overlook is a 400-foot or 121-meter gain. If you go all the way down to the beach it’s 908 feet or 276 meters.
- Cost of entry: Free
- Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate
- Trail type: Out and back
- Time to complete: 2 to 4 hours (depending on if you go down to the beach or not)
- Trailhead location: Google Map pin
How to get to the Sugar Port Trail in Todos Santos
To get to the Sugar Port Trail in Todos Santos drive around 10 minutes outside of town. You can use Google Maps to lead you to the Sugar Port Trailhead or if preferred you can map to the San Cristobal Hotel.
This is a high-end hotel directly on the Pacific Ocean. Aside from the hotel and a few of the best hikes near Todos Santos, there isn’t much out here but miles of pristine beaches.
The first section of the drive minutes of the drive is on the main highway, Highway 19. This is a paved two-lane road that any vehicle is capable of driving. Eventually, you’ll see a sign for “El Faro Beach Club” at the start of a dirt road. Turn here and continue on the sandy dirt road for 2 kilometers.
The sand on this road can be soft in some sections. We drove our KTM off-road motorcycle and went through a few tricky spots. If you’re renting a car to get around Todos Santos (something we recommend if you don’t have your own vehicle), most 4×4 or high-clearance vehicles should be able to drive here without issue.
We parked on the road next to the trailhead across from the official hotel parking. If you see the ruins of an old building (the sugar mill) you’re in the right spot.
What to bring on the hike
The Sugar Port Trail in Todos Santos, Mexico is located about a 20-minute drive outside of Todos Santos town center. The path is extremely exposed to Baja’s dry heat and intense sun. Make sure to bring sun protection like a sun hat, sunglasses, and a long-sleeved SPF shirt.
It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert of Baja. Aim to drink a liter of water every two hours when hiking. We recommend this reusable water bottle which has a built-in water filter. Don’t forget to add an LMNT hydration pack to your water. This will replenish the electrolytes you’re losing on the hike without adding nasty ingredients or unnecessary sugars.
This one goes without saying, but wear comfortable hiking shoes. Dennis loves his Altra hiking shoes while Liz wore her Allbirds sneakers (which are washable)! Of course, you’ll want to bring any photo or video gear with you.
The last thing you should bring with you is a bathing suit. The Old Port hike leads you to a secluded beach with the prettiest water perfect for swimming.
Get the gear here:
- 👕 Long-sleeve SPF shirt
- 🕶️ Sunglasses (we love that these are made from recycled plastic)
- 🧢 Sun hat
- 🥾 Hiking shoes or Allbirds sneakers (washable)
- 📸 Camera equipment
- 🚰 Reusable water bottle
- 💧LMNT hydration packs
- 👙Bathing suit to swim in the water (if desired)
What to expect on the Sugar Port Trail hike
Another name for this popular Todos Santos hiking trail is Old Port Trail.
Its name is aptly given to it because it leads you to the old sugar port where they transported the sugar processed at the old mill. At one point in Todos Santo’s history, it was the largest sugar producer in Baja California making it an extremely lucrative crop for the region.
🚨 Many people confuse this hike for the Punta Lobos hike in Todos Santos. While the trailheads are located nearby from one another – they are different hikes.
If you want to go on the official Punta Lobos hike in Todos Santos follow the All Trails directions for Cerro Punta Lobos. This trailhead is located off the beach and takes up the nearest mountain on the Pacific. ⛰️
The Sugar Port trailhead is directly behind the old sugar mill ruins. Follow the path behind the ruins up the hill and you’ll see a sign that says “Puerto Viejo” which means old port.
The hike doesn’t have a huge elevation gain for the first 2 miles (just 400 feet overall). You’ll pass several overlooks with epic views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re hiking during peak whale season (November to early April) make sure to keep an eye out for whales passing by. We saw several on our hike there!
The cliffs are striking against the deep blue waters of the Pacific. I couldn’t get over how the cactus contrasted with the terracotta color of the soil and the dark ridges of the cliffs. Southern Baja truly has such a unique landscape!
There is no shade on this trail. After about an hour of walking, we were fried! But finally, we made it to the overlook. This epic vista makes you feel like you’ve been transported to paradise.
At this point, you have a choice to either continue down the path and walk 2.5 miles with a gain of 500 more feet, or walk back to the trailhead. Since we were unprepared (with no water or proper clothing) we had to turn back early. We were quite sad about it. I mean, look at that watercolor!
Hiking to the bottom is the easy part, it’s coming back up that is brutal. It’s a series of switchbacks that are quite steep and will put your legs to the test. The big reward though, is having a secluded beach with the prettiest water all to yourself.
It’s common to see sea lions basking in the warm sun in the winter months 🦭. Despite being quite chilly, many choose to go for a brisk dip and cool off after a hot hike. The waters can be deceivingly dangerous, with a rip current that can take you right out to sea. If you stay close to shore you should have no problem.
You’ll want to start this hike early. It gets brutally hot in Baja, even in the winter months. We started around 10:00 am and couldn’t take the heat any longer come noon, despite it being a nice day in March. To make the most of your day arrive at the hike around 8:00 a.m. and plan to spend at least 3 to 4 hours hiking if you head to the beach.
Since we turned around early, we plan to return to hike the Sugar Port Trail all the way to the bottom. Dennis plans to bring his snorkel gear while I relax on the beach reading (heaven)! Without a doubt, this epic Baja hike near Todos Santos gives hikers a big bang for their effort and is a must-do activity when you’re visiting.
If you’re looking for a fantastic day out on the trail, make sure to add this hike to your Todos Santos bucket list. Also, venture out to the other great hikes near Todos Santos like Punta Lobos.
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