Constitution of 1857 National Park (Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857) is a protected wilderness area in Baja California, Mexico, about 95 km from Ensenada. It is a park that contradicts common impressions of Baja. The park is a highland savannah in the Sierra de Juarez mountain range with pine forests that get cold temperatures in winter and frequent freezes and snowfall. It provides protected habitat for a number of species including big horn sheep and mule deer.
Constitution of 1857 National Park was created as a Mexico national park by decree of President Adolfo Lopez Mateos in 1962. It was created to protect a unique forest ecosystem in northern Baja California.
The park encompasses 5,009 hectares of mountainous terrain with highland plains. The highest elevation in the park is 1,852 meters.
Many lakes in the park appear seasonally, filling during the winter wet season and then drying out over the summer. The largest lake, Hanson Lake (also known as Laguna Juarez) usually retains some water year round, but typically drops substantially by the end of the dry summer period. Hanson Lake is in a highland plain at an elevation of 1,580 meters.
Flora and fauna
The park is an important habitat for land animals and native plant species, some endemic to the area and some endangered. Many of the species found in the park are similar to those found in the mountain ranges of southern California.
Plant species vary depending on elevation. Higher elevations are pine forests with stands of juniper and other coniferous evergreens while lower elevations are predominately chapparal and coastal sage.
Avian species include predators like falcons, eagles (bald and golden), and vultures as well as ducks, woodpeckers, and crows.
Mammals include apex predators like cougars, bobcats, and coyotes, as well as bighorn sheep, mule deer, ringtails, rabbits, and squirrels. More than 30 bat species make their home in the park.
Cool winters and warm summers characterize the temperate climate in this region. Winter is the wet season when rainstorms are common with a handful of snowstorms. Lakes freeze over in winter and morning frost is typical.
From Ensenada, drive east on federal highway MEX 3 for 52 kilometers. Turn left on Ojos Negros and follow signs for Acesso a Laguna Hanson. The park is 32 km from MEX 3.
From Southern California (San Diego), you can cross the border at Tecate, then drive east on federal highway MEX 2D for 52 km to Rumorosa where you will turn south following the signs for Acesso a Laguna Hanson. The park is 62 km south of Rumorosa. It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive and the access road is best traveled with a 4x4 truck.
Fees and permits
There is no fee to enter the park but there are fees to camp or to use the cabins near Hanson Lake.
The area is remote and access to Lake Hanson requires a long drive on a dirt road full of potholes. A 4x4 truck is recommended in the park's backcountry.
- Piedra los Tiburones - natural rock formation that looks like two sharks on top of each other, located on the eastern shore of Lake Hanson
The park road is fairly busy and there are some stores, including an Oxxo (convenience store).
Camp, hike, and enjoy the seclusion of a remote mountain forest.
Bring water and any other drinks with you. Water is available in the park.
Cabins and camping areas are clustered near Hanson Lake. Bring food, water, and necessities with you. There is no food or camp store on site, but there are places along the park road after you exit from MEX 3 where you can buy some supplies. A much better selection will be available in Ensenada or San Diego.
- 1 Cabanas Laguna Hanson. Rustic cabins for rent on the south end of Lake Hanson. Amenities and rates vary depending on cabin. M$800.
- 2 Campamento Laguna Grande. Tent camping available. Beautiful sites, very remote with few other people in the area. Pit toilets. M$80.
- 3 Campamento Sierra Juarez. Tent camping available. M$80.
Military checkpoints are common on highways MEX 3 and MEX 2.
Wear appropriate clothing and dress for the weather. A pleasant 70 degree day in San Diego can become a freezing 30 degree afternoon by the time you drive to the park.