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Trekking & Hiking around Quito


Ecuador in spite of being a small country, surprises everyone with the many ecosystems and landscapes that it offers to the tourist. Quito is crossed by the Andes mountain range and it offers different sites for hikes and mountaineering (andinismo) at only 2 hours away from Quito, offering you a great view of mountains and volcanoes.

Hikes around Quito

Metropolitan Park

In the Metropolitan Park you can find a not so challenging trail of 5 km or 2 hours of walk. It is has an altitude around 2900 meters and 3050 meters. The Metropolitan Park covers an area of 580 hectares and it is located at the North side of the city. The park offers mountain biking trails, eucalyptus forests, bird watching, several lookout points, sporting courts, camping and barbecue areas and more.

The entrance to the park is free and it is open from 6:00 am to 6 pm. In the park you can do a very light walk around the park and it is perfect for people who want to breath fresh air and enjoy the nature without leaving the city.

The park has several walking trails well signalized and there is no risk of getting lost or going through a dangerous trail, because the park is delimited well.

A good advice is to bring light beverages and snacks but if you don't there are some places in the main parking lot where you can buy food and beverages.

Quito Useful Travel Links

To go to the park you don't need any special gear just a pair of comfortable shoes and a good mood to enjoy the nature.

The main entrance to the park is over the Eloy Alfaro Avenue just above the Atahualpa Olimpic Stadium. The entrance street is called Guanguiltagua. The other entrance not so common is by the Mariano Calvache Street, just by the Guayasamin Museum. For more information visit Metropolitan Park .

Pasochoa Wild Life Refuge

The Pasochoa Wild Life Refuge has several trails of different distances. One of the most attractive trail for tourist is the one that goes up to the summit of the volcano, it has a distance of 9 km and you go from 2800 meters up to 3950 meters, the best season to visit the Pasochoa is from July to September.

In the Pasochoa Wild Life Reserve there is an information center at the main entrance and also picnic and camping area and lodging. For more information about the place visit the link Pasochoa Wild Life Refuge

The access to the Pasochoa is by Amaguaña and buses and taxis could take you to the main entrance. The entrance fee is $2.00 for national tourists and $7.00 for foreigners. You should bring with you something to eat and beverages. Special gear is not necessary, just warm cloths a windbreaker and a pair of comfortable shoes.

Every trail start from a main trail that is located behind the information center. Colored signs guide the trails and there are different routes with its own difficulty levels and you can choose depending the strength that you have.

More Quito information

Papallacta Thermal Springs

It is an easy hike of 8 km that you can complete it in one day and other one of 2km which you can complete it in one hour. The trail goes from 3300 to 3500 meters and it is recommended to visit it between October and February.

Papallacta is a very nice place to visit near Quito; it is located at the east side of the Oriental Mountain Range in a valley at only two ours from Quito. Papallacta's main attraction is the hot springs but the hiking alternatives are numerous. Lakes, small hills, rivers and a sponge paramo are part of its beauty.

It is not necessary to bring special gear just a lunchbox for the hike, because at the village you can eat a delicious trout. To get to Papallacta you go by the road Quito - Baeza. The entrance fee for the trails is $2.00 and for $5.00 you can take a swim in the hot springs. For more information read the following link Papallacta Hot Springs.

Maquipucuna Reserve

The Maquipucuna Reserve is located at the northwest from Quito and has an area of 4500 hectares. It is surrounded by 14 000 hectares of tropical forest.

In Maquipucuna we can find 1000 species of plants including amazing orchids and bromelias. Also we can find at least 45 species of mammals including pumas, coated bears, deers, and other, as well a great variety of butterflies. More than 300 species of birds have been found in the reserve where they stand out hummingbirds and toucans.

To get to Maquipucuna you have to take the road to Calacali when you get to the Village of Nanegalito, take the detour that goes to Maquipucuna, there is a big sign that will help you get there. This road will take you to Yunguillas in this village you can find guides and lodging.

You don't need special gear, but it is recommendable to bring binoculars for bird watching because it is an interesting hotspot. You should bring a good amount of beverages before you start your hike. You should be cautious of stepping on a poisonous snake and also bring repellent for the insects.

The entrance fee to the Maquipucuna Reserve is $6.00. And there are available guidance service in the village of Yunguillas and Maquipucuna.

Road of the Macaws

This hike has a certain level of difficulty, it has 10 km and it is done in 1 or 2 days. It goes from 1350 to 2200 meters and the recommended time of the year to go is from October to March.

The hike takes place in the Macaws Mountain Range (Cordillera de los Guacamayos), it is located in the Eastern Mountain Range of the Ecuadorian Andes and has a maximum height of 3044 meters. It is located in the Antisana Ecological Reserve like 2 hours from Quito, and it is very famous among biologists its preserved cloud forests. It is an excellent spot for bird watching and it is easy to find macaws, toucans and tangaraes.

The trail starts in a primary forest, and then you will find the oil pipeline that is very strange to find a pipeline covered by orchids, bromelias and other plant species. The second part of the trail will lead you through a secondary cloud forest and wet grass, crossing several rivers.

It is not required to bring special gear but as always it is recommended to bring a lot of water and provisions for the hike. It is possible to buy some provisions in Baeza and Archidona, but it is recommended to bring everything what you need from Quito. Crossing the rivers will be difficult so be careful of not slipping. Also the mosquitoes will bother at night so bring repellent.

The entrance fee for the Antisana Ecological Reserve is $5.00. The entrance is from the road Baeza-Tena, and traveling from Quito you go through Papallacta.

Ilalo Volcano

Another very interesting hike is to the Ilalo Volcano between the valley of Tumbaco and Los Chillos.

Basic Equipment for Hikes around Quito

  1. Comfortable Trekking shoes and rubber boots in some cases.
  2. Sheltered clothes: jackets and impermeable trousers
  3. Wool cap and gloves
  4. Lantern
  5. Sunglasses
  6. Sleeping bag
  7. Sleeping pad
  8. Tent
  9. Water bottles
  10. Small backpack
  11. Sunscreen and insect repellent
  12. Binoculars
  13. Camera

Recommended readings

Trekking in Ecuador
Authors: Robert and Daysi Kunstaetter
Cost: see

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