The Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Medellin


While the center of Medellin in surrounding the city is a diverse landscape that includes mountains, rivers, waterfalls, jungles, and much more. Therefore, there is plenty to explore for those who love the outdoors. Amongst the stunning landscape are multiple trails to enjoy, and many of these will treat you to spectacular sights of the magnificent surroundings. Here is a traveler’s guide to hiking in Medellin to help you navigate the local landscape and make the most of your surroundings.

Cerro de las Tres Cruces

According to The Unconventional Route, Medellin’s best hike is the Cerro de las Cruces. Although this is a relatively short walk, it is challenging due to the terrain and elevation, so it is classed as a moderate walk overall. The hike involves walking up a steep hill to the summit, which is a popular outdoor workout spot. There are excellent views to admire at the summit. It is a 1.5-mile there-and-back hike that will take between 40 minutes and one hour and 20 minutes.

Cuevas del Higueron

A great hike for seeing some beautiful natural landmarks is Cuevas del Higueron. The hike takes you through Parque El Salado, and you will see caves, a waterfall, a river, and an ancient trail. The trail is 4.5-miles and has an elevation gain of 1,600 feet. It takes approximately four hours to complete this there-and-back trail.

Arenales Waterfall Hike

If you like your hikes to have a purpose, such as seeing a specific sight, then the Arenales Waterfall Hike is a fantastic option. There are two waterfalls to see along this hike, and you will also see the remains of La Catedral, which is the infamous prison of Pablo Escobar. The hike takes you through a pine forest that then leads into the jungle. After passing the prison and the waterfalls, you head out of the forest into Arenales. From this point, you can appreciate views across Medellin. Although the two-hour walk is not challenging in terms of length and is almost all downhill, there are some difficult sections of terrain to tackle. It is one of the most popular hikes in Medellin.

El Hato Waterfalls to San Felix Paragliding Launch

The hike takes you through the Bello neighborhood to the Chorro El Hato Waterfalls, and then you continue further up the hill to the paragliding launch at San Felix. If you fancy flying back down the hill instead of hiking, then this is your opportunity to do so. It is a moderate hike that will take a little more than two hours.

Parque Arvi via Cerro Pan de Azucar

The Parque Arvi via Cerro Pan de Azucar hike is one of the best hikes for enjoying excellent views. It is also popular because the hike takes you to two of Medellin’s top attractions; the Metrocable gondola and Parque Arvi. Another reason to enjoy the hike is that you can enjoy a traditional Colombian meal at the end. The hike takes between three and four hours, although it can take longer if you spend some time in Parque Arvi. It is a one-way hike that covers 4.5-miles.

The Cerro Tusa Hike

Completing this hike is the chance to see one of Colombia’s most impressive natural landmarks, as Cerro Tusa is the largest natural pyramid in the world, says Medellin Advisors. It is a hike that only physically fit people or experienced hikers should attempt as there is a lot of scrambling involved to reach the summit. Although the hike is only three miles there-and-back, the terrain is challenging, and there is an elevation of 1,600 feet. Therefore, you can expect this hike to take more than four hours to complete.

Cerro Quitasol

The hike begins at the metro station and then takes you along a pre-historic trail, and you will see ruins and breathtaking views along the way. Although it is a strenuous climb to the top of the mountain, it will give you a real sense of accomplishment. The hike back down is less strenuous, and there is a swimming hole at the bottom of the mountain, so there is the option to take a quick dip. It is a challenging hike that covers seven miles, although there is the option to complete shorter sections of the hike.

The Paramo del Sol

The Paramo del Sol is also called the otherworldly trek as it boasts a diverse and unusual natural environment that you will not find anywhere else in the world. It is not close to Medellin, but it is worth traveling the extra distance for the experience. It is a hike for experienced hikers that will take a full day to complete, as it is a minimum of seven hours. As you trek through the moss jungle, you will see wild orchids, hummingbird beehives, and unique scenery.

Guatape Hike

Just outside Medellin, you can hike to the top of a massive rock, which is one of the natural wonders of the region, says Via Hero. The Rock of Guatape is set against a backdrop of a rolling landscape. At the end of the trek, you arrive in Guatape, a quaint and colorful town that boasts colonial architecture. You can enjoy this hike by taking a bus from Medellin to Guatape.

El Salado Eco Park

While in Colombia, you should explore the Coffee Triangle, which consists of a combination of jungle and coffee plantations. A great way to explore the Coffee Triangle is to hike in El Salado Eco Park. This nature reserve is approximately 25 minutes outside Medellin, and there are trails of various lengths to enjoy. These range from 30-minute walks to treks that will take you a full day to complete. Each trail has something different to offer, and there are options for all abilities. After your hike, stop at the coffee plantation to enjoy a delicious cup of locally-produced coffee.

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