View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Mexiquillo to Mazatlan. The Devil's Backbone highway

In 2014, they opened a new toll highway through the mountains from Durango to Mazatlan. We have done that highway before. But the old narrow curvy road that was built around 1960 is still there. And we have done that one twice before.

We decided to take the group on the old curvy road. It's much slower going than the new road, but the new toll road is very expensive. They both have spectacular views.

National Geographic rates it as one of the world's top ten drives. And it is also listed on the "Dangerous Roads" website.

And the old road used to be quite dangerous. Before the toll road opened, any heavy truck traffic had to take this route between the cities of Durango and Mazatlan. There are many hairpin curves, and the trucks would actually take up both lanes trying to make the corners. Plus, there were many vehicles that went over the edge while driving too fast. There are a lot of crosses at the side of the road.

But now, hardly anybody takes the free road.

The rocky road leading out of Mexiquillo Parque Natural.

On the Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil's Backbone) highway.

We were stopped for about ten minutes at a military checkpoint. Once again, they were friendly and asked some questions about our trip. One fellow spoke quite good English. They took our passports (only Ruth and Mine) and recorded some information from them, then they waved us on and wished us a good trip.

It wasn't long before we arrived at the viewpoint. Good thing there was nobody else there because our 8 rigs almost didn't fit.

At the Devil's Backbone viewpoint.

The road follows a ridge that offers spectacular views from both sides. There is one short section at the viewpoint where you can see off both sides at the same time.

Looking right.

And looking left.

Ha... Ruta 666!

Off in the distance is the Baluarte Bridge on the toll road. 

This road is said to have 3,000 curves!

This hawk flew off just as Ruth was taking the photo!

We crossed the border into the state of Sinaloa.

You can see part of the toll road down below.

One of the many crosses signifying where there was some kind of accident.

We are now in the tropics!

There are times when the free road meets up with the toll road.

Scenery along the way.

Another one of the toll road bridges. 

Toll road bridge and tunnel.

Here comes some of the group behind us.

The road to Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island) is being widened.

They only paved it four or five years ago.

We pulled into Tres Amigos RV Park on the beach at Isla de la Piedra, Mazatlan at about 2:00pm. We had gone through a one hour time change to our benefit, so it actually took us about six hours to do the 181 km (112 mile) drive. We had made a couple of break stops as well as a half hour lunch stop. So glad we took that route... there was hardly any traffic and everybody really enjoyed it.

Yesterday's drive, 181 kms (112 miles).

So we are at the beach for a 3 night stop. The RV park itself is not our kind of a place, but after doing 10 nights without hookups most of us needed to empty our tanks and this was the only reasonable stop along the way. Still, I'm sure most of the group will enjoy the heat and the beach for the time we're here. We'll show you some pics of the place tomorrow.

Some of us went out for dinner last night to a tourist restaurant on the beach. Our meal was just "okay", but it was fun to spend time with the group listening to the sound of the waves and having some laughs.

And, we met up with friends Barb and Mark who were on our 2018 Yucatan trip. They are here at Tres Amigos, and another couple Louise and Michel are showing up here this afternoon. Great to see them again!

Record low deal on the Cuisinart Tabletop Gas Grill. This is the "professional" model, so it's apparently not suitable for you amateurs... lol. 

And in Canada...


  1. the sight of palm trees was a welcome sight lol I do enjoy the mountains too. What a beautiful drive. I've been on some very curvy roads where RVs and trucks were not allowed. Oh the drop offs made me cringe & a tingling sensation up and down my spine. Scary roads out there. Mazatlán was small village when I first visited and I had the best street tacos there. I have not had a taco like that since.

    1. I am sure that the sight of the palm trees was a welcome sight to just about everyone in the group but us. We really would prefer to just stay in the mountains. The beach is nice and listening to the waves is great at night but we don't like the heat and we especially don't like the bugs.

  2. How does that route compare to crossing the mountain from Chris~Juan's to get to SMA? Similar but longer? Enjoying the daily reports as always.

    1. Think of the Devil's Backbone road as the route between Linares and San Roberto on steriods. Much more curvy and much longer, however the surface on this road is much better than the Linares to San Roberto road and we would say that the scenery is even better. Having said that we love both routes. :-)

  3. Wow, Wow and more WOW. Bucket list for sure! Thank you

    1. We sure think it should be on a bucket list, as long as you don't mind driving on roads like that.

  4. What a nice drive. The scenery is amazing. Enjoy the beach bugs! 🦟🦟🦟

    1. It is an absolutely gorgeous drive and it's even better now that there is very little traffic driving on it.

      We hate the beach bugs already and can't wait to get back to the mountains, however I don't think the rest of the group is quite ready to leave, lol!

  5. What a great drive! We can't wait to do it again.

    1. Yep, it is absolutely gorgeous and we can't wait to do it again ourselves, lol!

  6. We did the free road route about 10 years ago on the downhill route. It was quite the adventure- windy, heavy rain & thick low clouds!
    Not for the faint if heart.

    1. Yep, I think the first time we did it was almost 13 years ago but we did it uphill and like you the toll road would not have been opened yet so there was lots of traffic. Thank goodness any time we have done it the weather has always been good. :-)

  7. Would love to do that drive. What do you think with 40ft plus a jeep behind? Doable? Remember I never say whoa in a tough spot!! Obviously big trucks used to do it!! Honk your horn when you get to Tepic cause we may hear you!! P.S. There are no bugs here in La Penita!! Safe Travels.

    1. Kevin said that it could be done but you would need to take your time, especially on the curves and there are a lot of them. Personally we said he wouldn't do it with a rig your size pulling the jeep though.

      We have always had problems with bugs at the beach, even at Lo de Marcos, maybe they just don't like you. :-)

  8. Replies
    1. Yep, it was quite the ride and we loved every minute of it. :-)


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