I spent days scouring websites, translating them from Spanish into English, piecing together bits of information about any kind of hiking near Medellin. Hiking information is so very difficult to find in Medellin, or Colombia for that matter. But after being in Colombia for 2 months, we finally hiked what I consider to be Medellin’s most accessible hiking trail, Cerro Quitasol. One of the area’s “guardian mountains”.
Cerro Quitasol is a mountain that is approximately 9200 feet (2800 meters) high at it’s peak, with a elevation gain of about 4100 feet (1200 meters) from the trail head to the peak. It has numerous and obvious trails leading up to the peak and it hosts community events. Yet, mountain hiking has not become a significant part of Medellin’s culture which leads to very few people knowing about the trails.
So, where is the trail?
Cerro Quitasol is located just north of Medellin, in the town of Bello.
How do you get there?
The easiest way is to take the Metro train. Simply get on the train line that runs north and south (Line A). Take the train all the way north to the last stop which is Niquia.
Where does the trail start?
There are a couple of different trails leading up. We will list the two that we found.
This is the trail we went up. When you get off the train, you will see the mountain directly north of you. You will also be able to see a clearly defined trail going up the ridge with fence posts on each side of the trail. Follow Avenida 38 and then walk up through the residential area to the trail head.
This is the trail we came down. When you get off the train, follow the walkway over the road and then into the shopping mall or around it. Yes, this is probably a strange set of directions. Your goal is to end up at the back entrance of the mall. From here you weave through a residential area and up to the trail head.
What is the condition of the trail(s)?
I would rate the trail condition as one of the best I’ve been on, in terms of how obvious the trail(s) is/are. We did not hike to the peak, but for the trails we did follow, you would never end up getting lost because you mistakenly took a goat path.
The trail that we took up was very rocky and uneven. Once we got up past the initial assent, the rocks disappeared and we were left with easy, smooth rust colored trails.
Interesting things on the mountain:
Old abandoned chair lift and waterslide. This might top the list of interesting things I’ve seen on a mountain. This may not be there for much longer. I can’t be certain though since my Spanish is very limited. If you take the same route up as we did, you can get to this area by taking the trail that goes to the right when you come to your first trail intersection. You really can’t miss this intersection, you’re options will be to continue up, left or right.
When we took the right path (non pun intended) we were taken directly to the chair lift. There were city workers there with donkeys and horses, it looks like they were taking down the chair lift, but like I mentioned, my Spanish is limited so it was hard to decipher what the workers were trying to say.
From here we acquired a private guide. One of the city workers decided to take a break from his job and walk us up the hill. He walked us up the waterslide….yes, up the falling apart waterslide. that took us to a religious shrine. These shrines are on every hike we did in Medellin.
This is as far up the hill we went. From here our guide took us to a little waterfall which was along a cobblestone pathway. The cobblestone path is one of the original paths that was an indigenous road through the mountains. Super cool.
You should go!
This was a super cool hike. It has a great view of the valley from Bello to Medellin. It took us 2 hours to hike up to the religious shrine which is only about 1/3 of the way up the mountain. Keep in mind that the trail we took ends at the shrine. You can not go up from here, take another path. The loop that we walked was about 7 or 8 kms, including the walk to and from the train to the trail head. If you want to go to the peak, like any big hike, take lots of water, it will be hot with limited shade.
Have you hiked in Colombia? I’d love to put it on my list for next time I go!
For a list of more hikes in the Medellin area, check out this list made by The Unconventional Route.