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The Tlaxco slot canyon is an interesting hike in Puebla.

While the city is surrounded by towering volcanoes, with Izta-Popo National Park to the west and Malinche volcano to the east, this hike is going to take you down into the earth in the opposite direction.

So, the Tlaxco slot canyon is a good hike for anyone looking for an easy trek.

The trail is accessible right from the center of the small town of Tlaxco, and is mostly flat the entire time. So, this is a great place to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, snap some pretty photos, and enjoy a hike out in nature that isn’t super difficult to reach or complete.

Ready to go?

Use this guide to visit the Tlaxco slot canyon in Puebla, Mexico!


Tlaxco colorful city sign and yellow central church

Tlaxco central square – start your trek to the slot canyon by following the road on the right side of this church and turning right on Calle 5 de Mayo


How to get to the Tlaxco Slot Canyon 

Tlaxco is a tiny town so there are no direct buses from Puebla or Mexico city to it.

You’ll have to make a quick stop in the nearby city of Apizaco before connecting to Tlaxco. This is how to do it from both Puebla (where I traveled from for the hike) and from Mexico City.


Bus from Puebla to Tlaxco

To visit Tlaxco from Puebla, catch an ATAH bus from the CAPU bus station, where you can skip the line at the ATAH ticket counter and buy your ticket directly from the workers at the ATAH bus gates.

Buses to Tlaxco run every 15 to 20 minutes and cost 65 mxn / 3.50 usd each, and the ride to the intermediary Apizaco bus station takes about an hour and a half. From there, you’ll get off and switch to the bus waiting to take you to Tlaxco.

You won’t need to pay again (buy your ticket all the way to Tlaxco when you’re in Puebla) and can just show your ticket again to board the bus. When changing buses at the station, asking for Tlaxco will be enough for all of the workers to point you in the right direction!

(You can also buy more expensive 85 mxn / 4.50 usd ejecutivo ticket from Puebla to Apizaco, but you’ll get dropped off the Ejecutivo Terminal in Apizaco where you will have to walk 10 minutes to the station with the buses to Tlaxco. The ejecutivo buses are faster and more comfortable, so it’s kind of worth the extra effort.)

From Apizaco, the bus to Tlaxco takes another 45 minutes and will drop you off in the center of the city. From Puebla to Tlaxco, our total trip time took two hours and 15 minutes.


Bus from Mexico City to Tlaxco

I went to the Tlaxco canyon from Puebla so I didn’t personally make the trip there from Mexico City, but I can try to share some info on how to do it to help you out if you’re planning to.

From Googlin’ around, I’m 95% sure that you’re basically going to have to do the same route through Apizaco to Tlaxco whether you’re coming from Mexico City or Puebla.

So, in Mexico City, you will need to go to the TAPO bus station and catch a bus to Tlaxco through Apizaco.

I know the ATAH company has buses from Apizaco to Mexico City so I’m sure they run back as well. The company doesn’t have any of their info online so you’ll have to find the office in the bus station and from there, buy your tickets and head out!

The ride will be long, especially if there’s traffic. Since our trip from Puebla took 2 hours and 15 minutes I’d estimate that from Mexico City it will probably take around three to four hours each way.

If you don’t want to go to Tlaxco on your own, there are also guided hikes in Puebla available on Airbnb. None of them go to the Tlaxco slot canyon (it’s pretty far off the beaten path) but there are horseback riding tours, guided waterfall treks, and more. 


dirt road that leads to the Tlaxco slot canyons on either side

Looking back at Tlaxco from the dirt road after hiking through the first part of the slot canyon


How to find the trail

Ok, you finally made it off that dang bus and now it’s time to hit the trail!

We were dropped off on the main road running through Tlaxco, a few blocks from the central square and church.

So, we walked to the church and found that Tlaxco is actually a pretty nice town. It’s a Pueblo Magico (one of around 120 towns in Mexico that are recognized as tourist sites in the country) and is a pleasant place for a stroll before you hit the trails.

Dan and I got some treats at a bakery that lured us in with such tempting smells and then ate fried chicken quesadillas  (with no cheese, in true Mexico City style) from a stand in the main square before finally hauling our fat selves to the trail head.

To get from Tlaxco city center to the slot canyon trail, put the Laberintos de Tlaxco into your GPS and it’ll lead you there in only a few minutes! 

You’ll pass a graveyard and sport center on your right and this pretty stone church on your left, and then the road will turn into a dirt road and the adventure begins.


hiking in the Tlaxco slot canyon

Entering the end of the first canyon – we walked through fields to reach this entrance point and then climbed into the canyon to follow it back to the dirt road


Where to hike + what to see in the Tlaxco Slot Canyon

Dan and I pretty much just followed the dirt road and ventured off it when we saw something that looked worth exploring. Basically, there are two main canyon and a viewpoint that are worth seeing.


Canyon One

Once the dirt road starts at the stone church, go through the second gap in the fence on your left and you’ll find yourself inside the first slot canyon.

Follow the canyon until it dead ends, and then you can turn around and walk back through it to get back the road or climb out and walk back to the road through the fields around the canyon.

Dan and I went through the first gap in the fence and did this backwards – walking through the fields to the lake at the end of the slot canyon and then following it back to the road inside it.

Both options are fun!


Canyon Two

Whichever way you choose to hike the first canyon, make your way back to the dirt road when you’re done (the first canyon should take around 30 – 45 minutes to explore).

Once you get back to the dirt road, keep following it until it basically runs smack into the second canyon. Then, you can enter the canyon and walk left or right through it, or in both directions if you want to see it all.


The viewpoint

After you’re done exploring the second canyon, walk back to the dirt road again and continue uphill. It’ll wrap around a small home and them come out at a viewpoint over Tlaxco, the canyon, and the surrounding mountains.

We decided to stop for a break here and eat a few snacks before heading back to Tlaxco, but you can also keep following the road and hike more from here if you want to.

In total, Dan and I actually didn’t hike for that long and you don’t need a ton of time to explore the slot canyon. We started our hike at the dirt road around noon and were back in town around 2:30 pm.


red rock walls in the Tlaxco slot canyons

The second part of the Tlaxco slot canyon


How to get from Tlaxco to Puebla (or Mexico City)

From the viewpoint, you can return to Tlaxco the way you came or circle back on a second road on the other side of the canyon – we chose to do this just for a change of scenery, but I think it takes a bit longer.

Once you’re back in Tlaxco, follow these steps to take a bus back to Puebla, Mexico City, or wherever you’re heading to next.


Bus from Tlaxco to Puebla

Whether you’re going to Puebla or Mexico City, you again have to go through Apizaco first. So, walk back to the Tlaxco city center and wait for the bus on the corner of Francisco Maduro and Calle Alvaro Obregon.

I don’t know exactly how often the bus comes, but we waited like 15 minutes for the next one to come by.

We rode 45 minutes back to Apizaco where you have two options to get back to Puebla: the ejecutivo bus or the ordinario bus.

You can stay at the station and switch over to the the ordinario bus back to Puebla or walk 10 minutes across town to the Ejectivo Terminal to take the nicer, faster bus back. Both are through ATAH, they are just inconveniently located in two different places in Apizaco.

If you take the ordinario bus back, it costs 47 mxn / 2.50 usd and takes 1.5 hours. If you take the Ejecutivo bus back, it costs 85 mxn / 4.50 and takes one hour.

Both buses will deposit you back at the CAPU station in Puebla where you can take a quick Uber into town and refuel with some of my favorite cheap eats in the city!


Bus from Tlaxco to Mexico City

To get from Tlaxco to Mexico City, follow the same steps above to walk back to the Tlaxco city center and catch the next bus to Apizaco at the corner of Francisco Maduro and Calle Alvaro Obregon.

This will drop you to the ATAH station in Apizaco where you can buy tickets for the next bus to Mexico City. Buses to CDMX seemed to leave often and were on nicer buses than the ordinario ones going back to Puebla.

Since I’ve never done this route personally, I can’t speak for the time it takes or how much it costs to get back to Mexico City but I do know for a fact that buses will be running from Apizaco to CDMX for you!


hiking at the Tlaxco slot canyons

Climbing into the second part of the Tlaxco slot canyon – this runs right up along the dirt road so its impossible to miss


What to pack for the Tlaxco Slot Canyon hike

The Tlaxco slot canyon is a pretty easy hike and are close to civilization, but you should always go out into nature prepared. For this hike, I packed my Osprey day pack with:

  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cardigan
  • And cash for the buses / food stands

The canyons are super muddy so definitely wear waterproof hiking boots (I’ve been singing the praises of these boots for years) and don’t attempt the Tlaxco slot canyons in sandals or nice shoes that you don’t want to ruin.


red canyon walls and cacti in the Tlaxco slot canyons


How much does it cost to hike in the Tlaxco Slot Canyon?

So, how much does a day trip to the Tlaxco slot canyon cost? Dan and I went from Puebla and our budget broke down like this:

  • 130 mxn for two ordinario bus tickets from Puebla to Tlaxco
  • 100 mxn on snacks and street food in Tlaxco ( which I can never resist no matter how much food I pack for the hike!)
  • ~40 mxn for two bus tickets from Tlaxco to Apizaco (I can’t remember the exact cost but it was something low like 20 mxn per person)
  • 170 mxn for two ejecutivo tickets from Apizaco to Puebla

In total, hiking in the Tlaxco slot canyon was a budget-friendly day trip and we only spent 440 mxn / 24 usd on the outing for two people.


view of Tlaxco and surrounding mountains from the Tlaxco slot canyon hike

Viewpoint where we ended our hike


Ready to go? 

Explore unique accommodation on Airbnb – like this rooftop glamping spot or this sustainable home with an indoor pool – and the top-rated hotels on to plan your trip to Puebla.

Then, check out more food, nature, and cultural experiences on Airbnb to round out your Puebla itinerary! (Or, book a multi-day Mexico tour to finish your travel planning in once click.)


This article is part of the Hiking in Puebla series. Read the rest below: 

How to climb Malinche Volcano in Malinche National Park

How to climb Mount Tlaloc in Izta-Popo National Park

What to see, do, and discover in Orizaba, Mexico


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