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El Camino del Diablo Adventure 2022

Monday Jan 17 – Friday Jan 21

The 4Xploring™ El Camino del Diablo Adventure is a 5 day event, Monday through Friday. We will be meeting in Ajo, AZ to depart at high noon on Monday the 17th.

The El Camino del Diablo (Spanish translation is The Devil’s Highway) has been used for centuries by American Indians, Spanish conquistadores, missionaries, and gold seekers. Carrying out orders from Coronado, Captain Melchior Díaz led a military detachment through the area in 1540. In 1698, Jesuit Padre Eusebio Kino traversed the region, exploring on foot and horseback making maps of his travel, noting major water sources and converting Natives to Catholicism. Other Spanish clergy and military expeditions traversed El Camino to reach California missions. Padre Garcés followed it in 1771, and again during 1779-81. Juan Bautista de Anza used it between 1774 and 1776, as did Pedro Fages in 1781-82. Following a gold discovery in 1849, Sonoran gold seekers from Mexico used the corridor on their way to the California Gold Rush. A few years later, the United States negotiated the Gadsden Purchase with Mexico, and most of El Camino became part of American territory. After the Southern Pacific Railroad reached Yuma in 1877, the route fell into disuse. Today, with proper caution and four-wheel drive vehicles, adventuresome travelers can retrace parts of El Camino del Diablo. “The Devil’s Highway” is a very exciting and historic journey through the Sonoran Desert, the historic route is approximately 130 miles long, running from Ajo to Yuma, along the southern border of the United States. There is no potable water, services or fuel; you will be traveling through remote and arid terrain, the road is extremely rough in places, and should only be driven in high-clearance 4×4 vehicles. The journey takes travelers through a landscape of organ pipe cacti, drifting sand dunes and ancient lava flows.

The Kofa Pioneer Trail runs thru the historic Kofa Wildlife Refuge, created in 1939 following a campaign by the Boy Scouts a few years earlier to create a wilderness refuge for desert bighorn sheep. In this part of the Sonoran Desert, the majestic saguaro cactus, which can grow up to 50 feet tall, dominate the land scape. Other species: prickly pear, cholla (teddy bear cacti), barrel, and hedgehog cacti can be found, in addition to California Fan Palms. While the land was set aside for the sake of wildlife, the area actually gets its name from the King of Arizona gold mine, which would stamp its property with “K of A”, later to become synonymous with Kofa. Those seeking the calm and meditative powers of the desert will be rewarded with solitude and the tranquility of a pristine wilderness in this part of the Sonoran Desert. And for those who relish in the pioneer history of the old west, well, there’s no shortage of that either.


NOTE: This trip requires extra fuel capacity on board your vehicle, 10 gallons at the minimum.

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