Hiking, trekking and climbing are the most popular activities in Quito and its surroundings. This is because there are impressive and relaxing natural areas considered hiding places from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Quito’s parks are ideal for easy walks and do not need any guidance as La Carolina, Parque Metropolitano (Guangüiltagua park and South Metropolitano), Itchimbía Park and Machángara Linear Park.
If you want hiking you may choose the slopes of the Pichincha volcano. In this place there is a large protected forest of 8,100 hectares. The most popular route is the climb to Cruz Loma, where is located the Teleferico. If you want to climb up is recommended to go with a guide or someone who knows the road.
The trail does not have a high degree of difficulty, but it's easy to lose the way close to the Paramo. Once at the top, the path is well marked to the base of the summit of Rucu Pichincha (the most visible tip of the volcano). To this tranche you don’t need a guide, but if you want to venture out during the week it is preferable to go accompanied. It is not usually to have influx of people on weekdays. The walks that could be linked with this scenario are the different paths that exist in the Parque Metropolitano of Guangüiltagua.
But Hiking, trekking and climbing in Quito are not limited to these destinations. There are many destinations outside of Quito that are just a few hours away. Thus we have the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge (very close to Quito), Geo-Botanical Reserve Pululahua, Ilaló Hill, Mount Fuya Fuya (near the ruins of Cochasqui), and many others. For most of these destinations guides is not required, unless you are not familiar with the activity of hiking.
For those who want more adventure and have a full day or more days is recommendable to go to the mountains and volcanoes that belong to the Avenue of the Volcanoes and are located few hours from Quito. So we have the Quilotoa, Los Ilinizas, Rumiñahui, El corazón, Imbabura, including those that are only recommended with journey assistance.
There are climbing destinations such as Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Chimborazo, Altar, Sangay, Tungurahua, for more adventurous spirits. These volcanoes and mountains necessarily require guidance because they are mostly snow and require special equipment. Some are holders of a special reputation for being difficult, long, or because patches are famous for their mortality rates.
However, the destinations are not limited to those mentioned. There are different routes through these elevations to visit different forests and reserves. The choices in Quito and its surroundings are innumerable, add them to all options offered by Ecuador and the whole country: You will need all you life time to know this country.
Quito is known for their surrounding mountains, and this makes it a good place to start hiking or walking.
The mountains that decorate the Sierra of Ecuador are perfect destinations for hiking. Also all of them offer breathtaking viewponts.
There aren’t just walks to the Andes; there are excursions to the cloud forest, to the Amazon and to the beaches of Ecuador too.
We recommend you to plan your hiking or climbing, taking into account the degree of difficulty, time required and the remoteness from urban centers.
For your safety you should get in touch with with a tourist guide, travel agency or tour operator.