Hiking in Mexico City: Cumbres del Ajusco National Park

by | Mar 9, 2018

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. Here’s is everything you need to know to get there!

 

 

Why Go to Cumbres del Ajusco National Park

There are a few reasons. First, Ajusco is the 4th tallest mountain in the country (Izta and Popo come in at third and second). Second, the park is 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).

Finally, it’s 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

So, you have two options. 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 (whyyyy pick up ride then?!) and didn’t know how to use GPS somehow… so we stopped and asked for directions multiple times despite me begging him to use 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. We paid 220, but if you get stuck in a lot of traffic, I think 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 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 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) or trailhead, 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

Yes! 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, 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 restaurant on the left side of the road (or if you come from the other direction and my instructions are confusing, just make sure you’re facing the side with only one large restaurant and not a few small ones). Go to the left of the restaurant and you will 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 the trail to the left, 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, we went in the afternoon and the skyline was pretty much totally covered in smog unfortunately.

If you do decide to go all the way to the top of Cerro Ajusco, it will take you about three hours (depending on how fast you hike) and then a couple more to get down. Definitely pack some snacks, enough water, and sunscreen!

 

 

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 if you go to the right places, like ride bikes, go on a horesback 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 just drive through the park and stop where ever looks interesting! We only got to see a small piece of it, but there’s definitely more to do if you have the time.

 

Lunch in Cumbres del Ajusco National Park

Ok, back to the hike. Once you get back down to the road, eat at the restaurant where you started! The food is really good, and really cheap. I had a beef sope and barbacoa taco, and Dan had three tacos. Each item was only 25 pesos. When we were there the sun was shining and groups were day drinking, 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

Ok, this is where the transportation gets kind of annoying. Theres 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 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 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!

All my love,
Di

PS explore my Mexico page for more Mexico City inspo including hiking, weekend trips, craft beer, and evening acitivites from my month in the city.

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