Pichincha Volcanoes

  • Rucu Pichincha summit ridge  - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn
  • Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - M+M Photographers
  • Quito through mist - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn
  • Pichinchas - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn
  • Rucu Pichincha from Guago - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn
  • Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - M+M Photographers
  • Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - M+M Photographer
  • Summit ridge Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn
  • Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - M+M Photographers
  • Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - M+M Photographers

Key information: Pichincha Volcanoes

  • This pair of volcanoes 10km west of Quito present different opportunities. Gorgeous rock and paramo landscape, complete with dramatic cliffs and ridges and huge views.
  • Guago (Baby) is higher and active, so its crater is fascinating as well as offering superb views from its rim.
  • Rucu (Old) Pichincha is lower and inactive. You can get high by cable car for beautiful and not too demanding walking (a great acclimatisation option) or head on for the peak.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating83
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating83

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,776m / 4,627m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Pichinchas - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn

WALK SUMMARY

This pair of volcanoes 10km west of Quito present different opportunities. They are historically resonant, early to be noted and climbed.

Gorgeous rock and paramo landscape, complete with dramatic cliffs and ridges and huge views.

Guago (Baby) is higher (at 4,776m) and active (check the status - it can be very active), so its crater is fascinating as well as offering superb views from its rim. But it is easy (30 mins) to the crater), as you can get by 4WD to a refuge near the top, although walking up the approach track (some 8 hrs) is itself worthwhile, so you can make it a 2-day hike staying at the (reportedly cold) refuge. Approach from Lloa.

Rucu (Old) Pichincha is lower (at 4,627m) and inactive. It used to need careful approach to the start points because of robbery/dog problems, but you can now take a cable car (TeleferiQo, itself a breath-taking journey) from Quito, so get quite high (4,000m) easily and then explore the slopes on a variety of paths, for reasonably undemanding and beautiful walking with splendid views over Quito (a great acclimatisation option) or head on for a more demanding assault on the peak. There are two traditional approaches (from Cruz Loma and Loma de los Antenas) to the peak, one harder but more thrilling than the other. They take around 5-6 hrs.

Note: there used to be robbery risks with both these hikes, but (as of 2015) these are thought to have calmed. Do check whether they are currently safe, though.

This can be strenuous walking in mountains with uncertain weather, where altitude can cause problems. Come prepared, including proper acclimatization.

Have a look at TripAdvisor - there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on guides, places to hike and places to stay in Quito.

Ecuador Climbing and Hiking Guide - Viva, has a worthwhile sections on this walk. Find relevant books by using our Amazon search function:

Find the books and maps listed above, and many more:

 

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Quito Area walk page.

ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!

 

 

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Quito through mist - © Flickr User - Robert Nunn

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Rucu Pichincha - © Flickr User - M+M Photographers...
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