The 6 greatest hikes in Mexico to discover volcanoes, canyons and ghost cities

Dwelling to tropical seashores, pre-Columbian ruins and a number of the world’s most celebrated cooking, Mexico has lengthy captivated guests. Its mountain climbing trails, nevertheless, stay little identified, which is nice information for these desirous to expertise the nation’s numerous surroundings with out the crowds.

Mexico’s trails can take you thru astonishing landscapes, from newly fashioned lava fields to jaw-dropping canyons, in addition to cloud forests teeming with wildlife. Skilled mountaineers can plan a visit across the nation’s well-known mountains, just like the difficult ascent up 18,491ft (5636m) Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak. 

Mountaineering right here is not simply in regards to the panoramic backdrops, although. You may also head off on a trek via native communities, with indigenous guides shedding perception on the wealthy cultures that date again many centuries. Listed here are our picks for the highest hikes in Mexico.   

Scout new methods to discover the planet’s wildest locations with our weekly e-newsletter delivered to your inbox.
The climb to the highest of Pico del Águila is difficult, nevertheless it rewards with views of rolling valleys and Mexico Metropolis within the distance © Getty Photographs / iStockphoto

Pico del Águila

Finest hike for views

2.8 miles (4.5km) roundtrip, 3 hours, tough 

Lower than 25 miles (40km) south of Mexico Metropolis, the Parque Nacional Cumbres del Ajusco immerses you in a world of forested slopes and rocky peaks that appear a world faraway from the bustling capital. The difficult however rewarding climb to the highest of Pico del Águila will take you thru forests of oaks, firs and pines as much as alpine terrain the place the views over the rolling valleys and the distant metropolis develop extra dramatic with each step. 

Though the hike is comparatively quick, the going is steep as you ascend greater than 2200ft (671m) en path to the lofty summit, which sits at 12,795ft (3900m) above sea stage. Alongside the way in which, preserve an eye fixed out for the teporingo, aka the volcano rabbit, a uncommon lagomorph and one of many smallest rabbit species on earth (solely the pygmy rabbit is smaller). The path begins close to El Abrevadero restaurant, an ideal place to deal with your self to a meal after finishing the hike.   

A scenic shot of Mexico's landscape with Volcán Paricutin in the distance
Volcán Paricutín is usually dormant, which you’ll see firsthand on a stroll from the village of Angahuan © Shutterstock / AGCuesta

Volcán Paricutín

Finest hike for volcano encounters 

12 miles (19km) roundtrip, 5 to 7 hours, reasonable

Most of earth’s geologic wonders could be measured in eons, however Volcán Paricutín has been round for barely 80 years. Again in 1943, a farmer was plowing his fields within the southwestern state of Michoacán when rumbling began, and steam, ash and lava spurted from the bottom. Seemingly out of nowhere, Paricutín volcano rose out of the bowels of the earth, rising over the subsequent decade to round 1350ft (411m) above the encircling valley. 

In the present day, the massive black cone is usually dormant, which you’ll see firsthand on a stroll from the village of Angahuan. From there you may rent a information from the Purépecha neighborhood and set out throughout lava fields, trekking previous the ruins of the Church of San Juan Parangaricutiro with its battered belfry towering above blackened volcanic rock. Later, you’ll scramble up free rock and gravel to the summit of the youthful volcano, spying a number of steam vents which are the one indicators of its exercise.

Panoramic view of the Copper Canyon at Chihuahua, Mexico
Expertise jaw-dropping panoramas of the Sierra Madre whereas additionally studying about Rarámuri tradition on a guided hike alongside the Copper Canyon’s Bacajipare Path © Shutterstock / Marisol Rios Campuzano

Bacajipare Path 

Finest hike for indigenous tradition

2.5 miles (4km) roundtrip, 3 hours, reasonable

The Copper Canyon within the north of Mexico isn’t one nice expanse, however somewhat a system of six separate canyons which are bigger and deeper in locations than the Grand Canyon. The rugged mountainous terrain can also be house to the Rarámuri (Taramuri), an indigenous group identified for his or her long-distance operating traditions. 

You may expertise jaw-dropping panoramas of the Sierra Madre whereas additionally studying about Rarámuri tradition on a guided hike alongside the Bacajipare Path. Led by Rarámuri members, this memorable stroll takes you alongside an historical path previous distant homesteads and right down to the small Bacajipare neighborhood. 

This is only one of a number of hikes you may undertake that’s led by Experiencias Rarámuri, a sustainable neighborhood tourism challenge that is been round since 2015. Contact the guides upfront or discover them on the decrease cable automotive station contained in the Parque de Aventura Barrancas del Cobre. Earlier than or after a hike, make sure to trip the high-flying zip strains over the canyon – one other spectacular strategy to expertise this area. 

Pueblos Mancomunados 

Finest hike for journey 

6 to 60 miles (10km to 100km) roundtrip, 4 hours to 4 days, reasonable

Close to the middle of Oaxaca state, eight distant villages are linked by some 62 miles (100km) of high-country trails in one in all Mexico’s greatest ecotourism tasks. You may plan a variety of hikes right here, from half-day excursions to multi-day treks,  overnighting in Zapotec villages alongside the way in which. Highlights embody strolling via misty cloud forests, crossing suspension bridges over ravines and scampering up rocky cliffs to views of snow-capped Pico Orizaba. 

The community-run Expediciones Sierra Norte primarily based in Oaxaca Metropolis may also help with planning and logistics. Amongst different issues, they will set you up with English-speaking guides, further actions like horse and bike leases and reserve your lodging upfront. 

Pueblo Fantasma 

Finest desert hike

3 miles (5km) spherical journey, 2 hours, reasonable

The mines of San Luís Potosí showered riches on growth cities like Actual de Catorce. When the worth of silver went bust within the early twentieth century, cobblestone facilities changed into pueblos fantasmas (ghost cities) and the inhabitants pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere. In recent times, boutique inns and eating places have breathed new life into Actual de Catorce, although it nonetheless retains ghostly components of its once-grand previous. 

With its inhabitants hovering round 1000, the small metropolis makes an ideal base for hikes to deserted websites, together with a hilltop ghost city hidden within the desert panorama. Alongside the way in which, you’ll ascend greater than 850ft (259m) and luxuriate in sweeping views again towards Actual de Catorce and the encircling mountains stretching off towards the horizon. As soon as contained in the pueblo fantasma, you may discover eerie 200-year-old homes and peek inside open mine shafts (watch your step). 

Cerro Don Lauro

Finest religious hike 

2.7 miles (4.3km) spherical journey, 2 hours, simple

Surrounded by dozens of conventional Tsotzil and Tzeltal villages, San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas is on the coronary heart of probably the most deeply rooted indigenous areas in Mexico. Irrespective of the place you stroll, you’ll encounter residents with apparent delight of their Mayan ancestry. The forests and mountains listed below are thought-about sacred—none maybe extra so than the Cerro Don Lauro, a craggy, pine-covered mountain looming above San Cristóbal. 

An uphill hike takes you thru pine and oak forest, previous trickling streams and small neighborhood farms. As you close to the highest, you’ll move an outsized drum, an altar and an space for temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies. That is the place Chiapaneco shaman Don Lauro, for whom the height is called, leads workshops and ceremonies in honor of the mountain. (Be taught extra about him within the movie El Hombre de la Montaña.) On the summit, you’ll take pleasure in a mesmerizing expanse of San Cristóbal, fringed by lush peaks rising above the valley ground.