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If you’re looking for hiking in Mexico City, Cumbres del Ajusco National park will definitely be on your radar.
Although I personally prefer hiking in Izta-Popo National Park because I enjoyed the erupting volcanos, during a long-term stay Cumbres del Ajusco is worth visiting as well.
Ready to check it out? Here’s is everything you need to know to get there.
Why Go to Cumbres del Ajusco National Park
Cumbres del Ajusco National Park is a great place to escape into nature when the hustle and bustle of Mexico City become too much for you. Plus, it’s cool because it was created in 1936 and is the third oldest national park in the country (only Desierto de Los Leones and Izta-Popo national park are older). The park is also unique in that it actually makes up half of the Mexico City Federal District! I was pretty surprised that one of the biggest and most polluted cities in the world was actually half national park.
How to Get to Cumbres del Ajusco National Park
You have two options to get to Cumbres del Ajusco National Park.
The first is to take an Uber. This is what we did and I though it would be super easy, right? Wrong!
First of all, the driver had no idea where we were going (why pick up ride then?) and didn’t know how to use GPS so we stopped and asked for directions multiple times despite me begging him to just follow the line on my phone instead.
ANYWAY. If you choose to take an Uber and your driver knows where to go there’s still the issue of traffic. The ride will take you anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half depending on what time of day you go, so waking up super early will be your best bet.
When you go, make sure you use this address in your GPS: Cerro Pico del Águila km 21, Col. Héroes de 1910
The cost to get to the park from Mexico City by Uber should be around 250 pesos / 13 usd. We paid 220 but if you get stuck in a lot of traffic the price can go up.
The other way to get to Cumbres del Ajusco National Park is by bus. Go to the Universidad Station and ask for the one going to San Miguel Ajusco. The trip costs 7 pesos / .35 usd per person and the ride will take about an hour and a half.
From San Miguel Ajusco, you’ll need to get a taxi to the trailhead. That will be about another 15 to 20 minutes and will probably cost around 100 pesos / 5 usd because most drivers will be stuck doing a round trip. Make sure you put the above address in your GPS again because there’s no real official entrance to the park (that I know of anyway) so your driver probably won’t know where to go unless you show him.
So basically, if you add up the taxi to the bus station and the taxi to the trail, the costs come close to just taking an Uber. The prices are similar but an Uber is faster, so that’s what I recommend.
Hiking up Cerro Ajusco
Ok, so you made it to the park.
When you’re getting dropped off you’ll pass the GPS pin on your phone and see nothing but forest on the side of the road, don’t worry. Just ask your driver to keep going a minute or two further until you get to the restaurants. There will be a couple on the right side of the road and one on the left. There will also be a big sign with a map of the park on the left as well.
If you’re facing the single restaurant and large sign on the left side of the road, go to the left of the restaurant and you’ll see a trail leading into the woods.
Take the trail for a few minutes and it will come out onto a road. Keep walking up it and go through a gate and through a playground. Here you will come to a sketchy bridge. Cross it, and take the trail to the left.
Once you’re on this trail you’re good to go! It’s pretty well maintained, you’ll probably see a few other people on it, and anytime it splits there’s usually markers pointing you in the right direction.
The trail stayed flat for about 45 minutes, then started to go sharply uphill. The climb was really tough actually, especially in the high altitude (the park is at 12,795 feet).
We decided to stop and just enjoy the view about halfway up instead of finish the climb. It really was beautiful, on one side the park stretched out and on the other was Mexico City. Try to get there early if you can, though. We went in the afternoon and the skyline was pretty much totally covered in smog.
What to Pack for Cumbres del Ajusco National Park
This is just a day trip from Mexico City but it can’t hurt to be prepared. For my hike in the park I brought along:
- A day pack – I always recommend my ultra-durable Osprey bag.
- Water! It’s easy to get dehydrated at high altitude so bring at least two bottles per person.
- Snacks of course.
- Sturdy hiking shoes – I personally use and recommend my Timberland boots.
- Cash for buses or taxis
- A jacket or extra layers just in case the weather changes
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What else to do in Cumbres del Ajusco National Park
So, this section is pretty much only for people driving in their own cars.
Just from looking around Google it seems like there is more to do in the park like ride bikes, go on a horseback ride, rent cabins, etc. I can’t find much info on where that’s located, but if you search in Spanish you may have better luck. Or, you can just drive through the park and stop wherever looks interesting!
We only got to see a small piece of it, but there’s definitely more to do in Cumbres del Ajusco National Park if you have a car and time to explore.
Where to Eat Lunch
Ok, back to the hike.
Once you get back down to the road I recommend eating at the restaurant where you started. The food is really good and really cheap. I had a beef sope and barbacoa taco and Daniel had three tacos and each item was only 25 pesos / 1.30 usd.
When we were there the sun was shining, groups were day drinking and it was a super relaxed atmosphere. Too bad we had such a trek back home, otherwise I definitely would have stayed for a few more beers!
Getting Back to Mexico City
This is where the transportation situation gets kind of annoying. There’s basically no way to get back down the mountain because there’s no service to call an Uber and no taxis driving by.
We asked the waiter what we should do and he told us his dad would give us a ride. So, that was nice. We paid him 100 pesos / 5 usd to drop us off at the bus station.
From there, it was a 1.5 hour bus to Mexico City and then a 20 minute Uber back to our apartment. The taxi plus bus plus Uber combo to get home took over two hours and only cost four pesos / .20 usd less than the entire Uber trip on the way out… yeah.
I’d suggest skipping the bus and trying to get a taxi or Uber straight from San Miguel Ajusco back to the city.
Hiking in Cumbres del Ajusco National Park
I kind of have mixed feelings about hiking in Cumbres del Ajusco. The nature was really nice and the views were beautiful. However, the transport situation was annoying at times and definitely long.
If you have a car, this is a perfect day trip from Mexico City, otherwise, visit at your own risk.
Looking for more recommendations? Visit the Mexico Guide for more articles like how to hike in Izta-Popo National Park, the complete guide to craft beer in the Mexico City, nine evening activities in Mexico City and much more!