The Pinacate Peaks are a group of volcanic peaks and volcanic cinder cones that are located north of the center of Puerto Peñasco. The highest peaks are Cerro del Pinacate (also called Santa Clara volcano), with an elevation of 3,904 feet (1,190 m). El Pinacate comes from náhuatl pinacatl, a desert endemic beetle.
El Pinacate and the Greater Desert of Altar are unique places in Mexico and the world. They contain the most spectacular and youngest lava field in North America and encompass extensive sand dunes in one of the driest regions of the Sonoran Desert. The beauty can be appreciated from space where the black lava of the volcanic shield is surrounded by the white sands of the great desert, and both are contrasted by the light blue sky and the deep blue color of the Sea of Cortez.
While driving on the paved road leading to the visitor’s center you can see the Sierra Blanca (White Hill), a granite structure that dates over 200 million years old. As you drive you can also appreciate the Lava Flow Ives, the most extensive pahoehoe flow in the reserve and home of the most recent volcanic activity in Sonora.
The visitor’s center there has a modern museum and library with a didactical and interactive area, which highlights the values of the reserve emphasizing the natural and cultural history of the site. There is also an audiovisual room where you can watch a documentary about El Pinacate. Be sure to ask for other interesting details relating to the conservation of our protected natural area.