With its beautiful beaches and abundance of warm sunshine, Mexico has always been a destination for travelers looking for a little rest and relaxation. But, the country also has plenty of options for active, adventurous travelers too, including some great spots to go hiking. We've compiled a list of our favorite trails, just in case you want to stretch your legs some while vacationing south of the border. Here are five can't miss hikes to do in Mexico.
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If you're up for an epic challenge, head to northwest Mexico to La Barranca del Cobre, or Copper Canyon. This amazing destination is rugged, wild, and mostly undeveloped, with the canyon itself spreading out across more than 10,000 square miles. And at 5500 feet in depth, it is deeper than even the Grand Canyon, making the rim-to-rim hike a major undertaking.
Many of the trails are not well marked, but that is part of what makes exploring the region such an adventure. Guided trips are available for those who prefer it. To beat the summer heat and heavy rains of early autumn, the best time to go is November through March.
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For a truly wonderful hike that is sure to delight, head south out of Mexico City to the small town of Tepozteco. There travelers will discover a trail that leads up the slopes of a mountain called Tepozteco. The route is a bit of a challenge due to the fact that it rises 1200 feet over the course of about a mile, making some of the sections quite steep. The altitude isn't overly high however, making it a bit easier to climb.
Once at the top, hikers are rewarded for their efforts with a 30-foot tall, 900-year old stone Aztec pyramid. Lounging on the walls of the structure, they can soak up the scenic views of the surrounding countryside in grand fashion.
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Desierto de los Leones National Park
The Desierto de los Leones (Lion Desert) is another fantastic destination for hiking that is conveniently located close to Mexico City, The park itself often plays host to a number of historical and cultural events, and is home to a 400 year old monastery. But wander deeper into its wilderness, which includes a dense forest, and you'll find a surprisingly wild place that is in fairly close proximity to the city center.
To escape the crowds, and test your fitness, make the trek to the summit of Cerro San Miguel, the highest point in the park at 12,434 feet. It is a challenging walk, but the views from the summit are worth the effort.
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Nevado de Toluca
It's not everyday that you get to hike to the top of a dormant stratovolcano, but that is exactly what you can do on the trail up Nevada de Toluca. Located about 50 miles west of Mexico City near the town of Toluca, this massive peak stretches 15,390 feet into the air, making it a strenuous trek under the best of conditions. But even though the trail is a challenge, the scenery found along the way is breathtakingly gorgeous and includes a series of crystal-blue crater lakes found at various points along the way.
Before embarking on this hike, make sure you've full acclimatized to the altitude by spending a few days in Mexico City or other parts of the region. Once you've become accustomed to the thinner air, it is easy enough to complete the trek in a single day, as the starting point is just 1600 feet below the summit and requires about two hours to make the ascent. Be sure to bring a warm jacket with you when you set out, as temperatures can get quite chilly near the top,... which is almost always covered in snow.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Cumbres Del Ajusco National Park
The Cumbres Del Ajusco National Park is another easily accessible destination that has a lot to offer hikers. The park has a network of trails that criss-cross the region, cutting distinct paths through the pine forests that cover the lower sections of the park. But experienced hikers will want to head to the summit of Cerro Ajusco itself, a towering peak that sits 12,894-feet above sea level. There are several routes to the top ranging from moderately challenging to difficult, but each is easy to follow and has its own rewards.
The summit trails tend to be fairly quiet and peaceful, which can be a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. Take your time on the way up, enjoy the views, and soak up the solitude.