Roadtripping the Mission Route in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere, Mexico
From the dry, high desert, the road climbs over a pass near the peach-colored mining town of Pinal de Amoles. Hit the road in the fall after the rainy season and, suddenly, you'll descend into the misty green embrace of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. Twist and turn your way hugging the mountainsides along Highway 120, taking time to stop for waterfalls, springs, canyon views, and wildlife. The town of Jalpan makes a good home-base for exploring the wildly ornate baroque Franciscan Missions that dot the area in the small towns of Concá, Tilaco, Tancoyol, and Landa. If you have off-road tendencies, there are enticing dirt tracks that go deep into the wilderness. Concá is definitely worth a detour north along easy-to-drive Highway 69. Here, you can let those road miles melt away in the traditional temazcal (thermal steambaths) at the Hotel Misión Concá.