Ecuador

Best walks, hikes and treks in Ecuador [View list of walks]

About Ecuador

Walkopedia loves Ecuador: while it may be the smallest of the Andean countries, it manages to contain a lot of excitement in its (relatively) diminutive borders. Dramatic, gorgeous and fascinating landscapes, endless variety (ice-capped volcanoes to steamy jungle), the amazing Galapagos Islands, and vivid history and culture and delightful people to boot.

Ecuador sits right on the Equator. The high mountains of the Ecuadorean Andes, which run the length of the country from north to south to create a central highland region, are famous for their remarkable volcanic landscape, vegetation (cloud forest to high páramo grassland), animal life and interesting and traditional way of life. To the east lie the rainforests of the sparsely populated Amazonia region. To the west is a low lying coastal region.

Ecuador is home to the highest active volcano on earth (so they argue), perfect, conical, snow-capped Cotopaxi at almost 5,900m.

The Andes are also home to particularly gorgeous vegetation, the páramo grasslands and scrub of the highlands and the cloud forest of the slopes.

This country is a treasury of wildlife, including well over 100 species of hummingbird, the condor, llama, alpaca and vicuña. And some 1000 km into the Pacific Ocean are the famous Galapagos Islands, wildlife heaven and a lifetime highlight to visit.

So, Ecuador has things to fascinate everyone, children included. The variety of travel and tours you can make in Ecuador  is as a result huge. 

Walking, hiking and trekking in Ecuador

Ecuador has some of the world’s best walks, hikes, treks and climbs, ranging from famous mountain hiking and trekking trails and areas such as the Condor Trail and in the Cotapaxi area and the Chimborazo Area, to geological absurdities like the Quilotoa area,  wildlife heaven (the Galapagos)  to historic routes (Inca Trail to IngapircaCamino Cañari) to the atmospheric colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca.  

So, walking, hiking, trekking and climbing tours and holidays in Ecuador are so varied that everyone’s taste and energy levels  can be met. Walking in Ecuador isn’t just for hard-nuts, although there is plenty to get their juices flowing. The lazy and youngsters alike will be enthralled by what it offers (Walkopedia had its 10 year old tramping at 4,000m, technical child abuse?):  Ecuador walking, trekking and hiking holidays and tours really can be for everyone.

See the list below for a (currently incomplete – please give us your recommendations!) list of the best walks, treks and hikes in Ecuador. Various of these are in our world’s Top 100 list.

 

Famous walking regions include:

Famous walking, hiking and trekking regions include:

-          The Otavalo Area 

-          Cotopaxi Area

-          Quilotoa Area

-          Cajas NP

-          Chimborazo Area 

-          Sangay NP 

-          The remote southern Podocarpus National Park is good hiking option, covering both Amazonian rainforest and Andean highlands with glacial lakes.

-          And the Galapagos Islands: while they aren’t famous for walking, there is some great walking to be had.

One enjoyable (and less onerous) way of creating a longer walk is to combine some of these areas into a lodge to lodge trek, for instance climbing Pasochoa  then dipping to the Pita River Canyon, ascending that to Cotopaxi’s lower slopes, and exploring the Cotapaxi NP.

We intend that our walk pages contain detail and photos on walking, hiking or trekking routes, including books, best times and weather, how to get there, possible problems, walking, trekking and hiking firms, organisers and guides in Ecuador, accommodation in Ecuador and useful links. But this takes a lot of research, so if they are not "there" yet, please give us any suggestions you may have.

El Corazon
© Flickr User - Robert Nunn Avenue of the Volcanoes/Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi - © By Flickr user Alepheli Avenue of the Volcanoes
Cotopaxi - © Alepheli

Best walks, hikes and treks in Ecuador

You can sort the walks by category by clicking on the category titles.

(The rating of walks marked * is currently provisional.)

Region Walk Name Walkopedia Rating Difficulty Day Walk
Possible?

  Avenue of the Volcanoes/Cotopaxi
86*
Variable Yes
 Andes: Quito Area Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
83
Yes
 Andes: Quito Area Cerro Atacazo
85*
Variable Yes
 Andes: Quito Area Cerro Pasochoa
87*
Strenuous Yes
 Andes: Quito Area El Chaupi
85*
Strenuous Yes
 Andes: Quito Area Pichincha Volcanoes
83*
Variable Yes
 Andes: Quito Area Pululahua Crater
90
Strenuous Yes
 Andes: Quito Area Quito Area
87*
Variable Yes
 Central Andes Avenue of the Volcanoes
90*
Variable Yes
 Central Andes Banos Area
88*
Variable Yes
 Central Andes Condor Trek
88*
Strenuous No
 Central Andes El Corazon
87*
Strenuous Yes
 Central Andes Papallacta Lake District
84*
Variable Yes
 Central Andes: Chimborazo Area Carihuairazo
88*
Difficult No
 Central Andes: Chimborazo Area Chimborazo Area
86*
Variable Yes
 Central Andes: Chimborazo Area Chimborazo Ascent
80*
Very Difficult No
 Central Andes: Chimborazo Area Treks between Chimborazo and Carihuairazo
80*
Very Difficult No
 Central Andes: Cotopaxi Area Cerro Ruminahui
90*
Strenuous Yes
 Central Andes: Cotopaxi Area Cerro Sincholagua
90*
Difficult Yes
 Central Andes: Cotopaxi Area Cotopaxi Area
89
Variable Yes
 Central Andes: Cotopaxi Area Cotopaxi Circuit/Loop
86
Strenuous No
 Central Andes: Cotopaxi Area Pita River Canyon
80*
Moderate Yes
 Central Andes: Cotopaxi Area Volcan Cotopaxi
81*
Very Difficult No
 Central Andes:Quilotoa Area Edmundo's Skywalk
93
Moderate Yes
 Central Andes:Quilotoa Area Lake Quilotoa Area
93
Variable Yes
 Central Andes:Quilotoa Area Lake Quilotoa Circuit
93
Strenuous Yes
 Central Andes:Quilotoa Area Lake Quilotoa to Chugchillan
92
Strenuous Yes
 Galapagos Islands Cerro Crocker, Santa Cruz
85*
Strenuous Yes
 Galapagos Islands Darwin Lakes, Isabela
87
Moderate Yes
 Galapagos Islands El Junco Lagoon, San Cristobal
84
Moderate Yes
 Galapagos Islands Galapagos Islands
89
Variable Yes
 Galapagos Islands Sierra Negra, Isabela
89
Variable Yes
 Galapagos Islands Volcan Alcedo, Isabela
84*
Strenuous No
 Northern Andes El Reventador
77*
Variable Yes
 Northern Andes Golondrinas Trail
84*
Moderate Yes
 Northern Andes: Otavalo Area Cerro Imbabura
89*
Variable Yes
 Northern Andes: Otavalo Area Laguna de Cuicocha and Cerro Cotatachi
86*
Variable Yes
 Northern Andes: Otavalo Area Lagunas de Mojanda
85*
Strenuous Yes
 Northern Andes: Otavalo Area Otavalo Area
89*
Variable Yes
 Northern Andes: Otavalo Area Pinan Lakes / Yana-urcu de Pinan
83*
Strenuous No
 Southern Andes Camino Canari
87
Moderate Yes
 Southern Andes Inca Road to Ingapirca
91*
Strenuous Yes
 Southern Andes Podocarpos
82*
Variable Yes
 Southern Andes: Cajas NP Cajas Inca Road
87*
Variable Yes
 Southern Andes: Cajas NP Cajas NP
84
Variable Yes
 Southern Andes: Cajas NP Laguna Llaviuco
85
Straightforward Yes
 Southern Andes: Cajas NP Tour of the Cajas
84*
Variable No
 Southern Andes: Sangay NP El Altar
88*
Strenuous No
 Southern Andes: Sangay NP Sangay NP
88*
Variable Yes
 Southern Andes: Sangay NP Volcan Sangay
79*
Difficult No
 Southern Andes: Sangay NP Volcan Tungurahua
82*
Variable Yes


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