South America is home to some of the worlds best hiking trails and in Mexico you'll find epic mountain and forest trails to explore, and even impressive volcanoes to climb.
If you're going to Mexico to experience the rich culture and delicious food, then why not take a journey through the remarkable landscapes it has to offer.
We’ve put together a list of 9 popular hiking trails in Mexico, and there is something here for everyone. Whether you're looking for some culture, a forest trail or a mountain hike, Mexico has it all!
We begin with one of the most popular hikes in Mexico! Hiking to the 3,986m peak of Ajusco, or Malacatepetl, is not for the faint of heart, but the epic views from the top make it worth the effort. There is no better spot for panoramic views of the valley.
Hiking through the forest is breathtaking and once you leave the tree cover, the terrain gets tougher. The trail is a loop about 10km long and this is a high-altitude trek so be sure to acclimatize before attempting the summit.
The park is known as the lung of the valley, aptly named for its lush greenery and fresh air! It can become crowded in the park with locals and tourists exploring the trails at their leisure. If you are hoping to get some peace on your trail, then begin hiking early on a weekday morning.
Love being in nature surrounded by green luscious forests? This is a forest trail for you! Located only an hour from the city center is Los Dinamos Park (or Bosque de la Canada de Contreras), a protected area that is the perfect place to unwind and go for a hike.
There are rivers and waterfalls to discover on the 5km, 4-hour trek and the trail takes you to around 3,460m above sea level. The surrounding area is stunning and the views are incredible. It’s easy to forget you are just outside of the city when hiking in Los Dinamos Park!
You’ll need to be physically fit to hike this trail and prepared for the high altitude. You'll want to make every effort to reach the top of this trail and find the impressive views over Mexico city and the park.
Another impressive volcano trail to discover in Mexico is the Paricutin Volcano hike! One of the youngest volcanoes in the world, Paricutin has been claimed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders.
The hike takes you to the top of the steaming crater, but no need to worry, this volcano is extinct. From the peak, you can see for miles! A part of the trek involves walking on ash which can be strenuous so get in some exercise before attempting to reach the peak.
The Cusasare Falls Trail is one of many hiking trails in Copper Canyon. ‘Cusasare’ means ‘place of eagles’ which is the perfect name for this canyon trail! With eagles soaring high above and surrounded by pine trees, hiking the Cusasare Falls Trail is a stunning three-day trek leading to a beautiful flowing waterfall, Cusasare Falls.
The trail is about 52km long as you make your way from Cusasare to Divisadero. The waterfall is located near the beginning of the trail and is a spectacular sight! From the falls you will continue hiking along Cusasare River towards the Basirecota hot springs.
The rocky path then takes you through deep canyons and has many steep ascents and descents. You’ll end up walking along an old logging road and even crossing a few rivers on the trail.
Although you can hike year-round in Copper Canyon, the best time to hike this trail is in September to November, after the rainy season. The temperatures are mild during this time and the creeks and rivers will be flowing so you'll get the most out of the experience.
Located in the protected area of Nevado de Toluca, another volcano awaits! Hiking Xinantecatl is known as one of the more popular hiking trails in Mexico. Its summit sits at 4,640m and it takes about 8 hours to reach. The hike to the crater is intense, yet unforgettable.
If you have planned to stay in the Alpine refuge, you have the option to only go and see the crater lagoon, but if you want to hike to the summit, previous experience is not required for this trek, but you will need to be well prepared and in good physical condition.
The hike to the top takes a full day as you ascend during the morning, and descend in the afternoon. The crater has two large lakes, the Laguna de la Luna and Laguna del Sol. The water is freezing cold and entering the lakes is only attempted by brave scuba divers.
One of the most popular hiking spots in Mexico, ‘Lion Desert’ has plenty to offer hiking enthusiasts. This national park is hikers, bikers, and families exploring the outdoors. There are no maps, no official routes and the campsites are somewhat rural. So this will be a real outdoors experience!
If you feel like a challenge then climbing to the peak of Cerro San Miguel is an incredible hike. This is the tallest mountain in the park and the route takes you along the crest of Cerro El Caballete.
The trail can take around 6 hours to the peak and back. Its a quiet, peaceful trail and a wonderful break from the crowds of Mexico. This is a high-altitude trek so it can be very tiring. Pack snacks, sunscreen, plenty of water and a jacket (no-matter the weather).
The trail is wide and not labeled (none of the trails are marked in Desierto De Los Leones). There is no cell service on the trail, but there are plenty of other hikers and bikers along the way that can help you if you get lost. Don't forget to take breaks and enjoy the impressive views.
Fondly named ‘the sleeping lady’, Iztaccihuatl is the third highest mountain in Mexico and the seventh highest in Northern America. Located in the Iztaccihuatl-Popocatepetl National Park, this extinct volcano is explored by mountain enthusiasts from around the world.
Hiking Iztaccihuatl is a must-do for hiking enthusiasts visiting the city of Mexico. As you near the snow-capped peak you’ll find the most beautiful views of the city and surrounding peaks, like the ‘Smoking Mountain’, Popocatepetl.
Hikers typically choose the standard route, La Arista del Sol (The Ridge of the Sun) and while the trail is not technical, many hikers experience problems with altitude sickness as you ascend nearly 4,800m. Make sure you have properly acclimatized before attempting the hike.
Many of the hiking trails in Mexico are high altitude treks. Please make sure to acclimatize before heading off on your hiking adventure. Altitude sickness can prevent even the most experienced hiker from completing their trek.
This loop trail is a 12km trek through nature in Chipinque Ecological Park! The peak of Copete del Aguila sits at 2,200m and is the highest peak in Monterrey.
Of the few peaks in the park, Copete del Aguila is by far the most demanding. You will make your way to the Explanada parking lot where you’ll begin on the Empalme trail.
The pathway zigzags through stunning pine forests and offers amazing views of the city and surrounding peaks. The trail gets quite steep near to the summit and you will end up at a wall where you are expected to free climb roughly 30m. There are ropes placed here to assist you with the climb. At one point you will need to jump from one rock to another, be careful at this point as it is very high!
A permit is required to reach the summit, so make sure you have this on you before heading out on the trail. To the top you will have to climb a vertical ladder, so be sure you are comfortable with this if you intend to reach the summit.
Climbing to the peak of Copete del Aguila is possible year-round. However, the summer heat can be extreme, so we suggest starting as early as sunrise to complete the climb by the midday heat. The park requires that you begin your trek no later than 10am.
There is a fee to enter the park, and an additional fee to climb to the peak. You will also need to notify the park in advance of your intention to summit any of the peaks in the park. There are also guided tours to the peak on offer at $90 for a group of five.
Not looking for a high-altitude trek? Tepozteco is a small mountain that sits at a lower elevation than Mexico City. However, you will be ascending rather abruptly so keep a good pace and watch your step, the trail is steep and rocky.
The summit is a fascinating discovery as you’ll find a 30ft pyramid dating back to the 12th century. You will need to pay a fee for admission at the summit to see the Aztec Pyramid, but it is well worth the extra bucks! Plus you are welcome to explore the pyramid to your desire. The views from the top are amazing!
Hiking Tepozteco is quite a popular attraction for tourists and the trail can get busy during peak season and on the weekends. Heading out in the early morning hours is a good idea to beat the crowds and the unpredictable rain. Bring a waterproof jacket no matter the weather, and make sure you have good hiking shoes as the terrain can be slippery.
Trekking through the forest you’ll most likely come across Coati, curious little animals that look like a raccoon cross a monkey. They are fascinating and don’t mind helping themselves to your food! You’ll head back down the same way you came and once you have completed the trek we recommend heading to the markets for some delicious food!
Hiking in Mexico is best during the dry season which runs from October to May. Temperatures are mild and comfortable for hiking during this time.
June to September are the summer months in Mexico. It can get very hot and there is plenty of rain so it’s best to avoid booking any hiking adventures in Mexico during this time.
Kayla lives in sunny Cape Town, South Africa. She loves wildlife and being in the mountains! Anything to get away from the city and relax in the peace and quiet of nature.