Mexico/Queretaro: Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve

Sierra Gorda mountain range (literately “fat mountains”) rise sharply behind Bernal to almost 9000 feet and the area is protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Twisting Highway goes through the heart of the mountain, which if approached from the west are very dry and arid – the prevailing winds coming from the Gulf of Mexico are completely blocked by the range. The flora is pure desert here – giant cereus cacti, equally giant barrel cacti in higher and sunnier slopes, tons of ocotillo and agave of all shapes and sizes. Every twist of the road offers panoramic 360 views of the rugged terrain.