One of Mexico’s highest peak at 4691m above sea level, the Nevado de Toluca is seriously tough hike.
Cantimplora Travel, a bespoke tour company based in Mexico City, were my guides throughout the trek, which is a full day trip from the countries capitol. It was great having local guides, who truly know the region and understand how to acclimatise to the altitude.
The inactive volcano can be seen from just outside the border of DF, with its often snow-capped peaks rising above the south-western township of Toluca. We drove the 3 hours from central Mexico City to the national park, and the rough road means that there is no other way than by car. Don’t attempt to get to the hiking trails by foot, it will be (and as my guides suggested, has been tried) to be impossible. Be aware, there are tolls and a national park fee that are to be paid, so bring cash in smaller notes.
You can see the map route from Mexico City here.
On arrival to the small car park (which does have toilets, but bring loo paper!), we began our hike. the initial incline can be tough as the air is much thinner than in the city below. Take your time, drink lots of water and don’t over exert yourself.
As you crown the volcano’s edge, you have the chance to marvel at the beauty of the craters, and get your bearings. The sun and the moon lakes form a figure 8 inside the base, with the moon being the smaller. We took the sun route first and slightly regretted it, as the hill up from the moon is twice as steep. I highly suggest taking the moon path first, so your final leg is not as agonizing!
This is a very simple hike to navigate, as the crater is basically round, but don’t let it fool you!
For the tougher trail blazers, the western-most portion of the crater rim is where you need to head. There is a 3-4 mile ridge trail with extremely jagged, rocky peaks. Here you will find the highest peaks, known as Pico de Fraile and Pico de Aguila. This is only for well experienced hikers, as the rim has demanding climbs.
What to bring:
– At least 2L of water
– Sturdy shoes- note converse do not make the cut
– Windproof jacket
– Multiple layers
– Snacks- something with natural sugars to keep you going such as fruit and nuts
– Sunscreen (no matter what the season)
When to go:
I was told that when the snow fill the crater, it can be rather dangerous to hike (slippery rocks, sharp edges), so go from November to June (the dry season). These months are much safer, but it is always important to check before heading out- especially for high winds!
All photos credited to Cantimplora Travel.