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Top 9 Wild and Adventurous Hiking Trails in the Colombian Andes

Tourist at Natural National Park Chingaza

Updated on 06/04/2024

Dear reader,
I would also like to recommend our Colombia travel guide, which provides a perfect overview of the tourist attractions in Colombia. Enjoy reading it!

Discover the most important landscapes of the Colombian Andes with trekking. In this blog we show you the most adventurous routes for your Andean expedition.

Why Trekking in the Colombian Andes?

I’ll summarize it for you very simply.

  • It’s linked by three mountain ranges: the Western, the Central, and the Eastern, which give rise to numerous valleys, canyons, plateaus, and rivers. Ecosystem abundance!
  • It encompasses all thermal floors, from tropical to polar, resulting in a wide variety of ecosystems and species to observe.
  • It’s home to several indigenous settlements that still maintain their customs, preserving many cultural traits and are open to tourism.
  • It’s the birthplace of the national agricultural engine, especially the coffee axis, which produces some of the world’s finest coffee.

Where to Hike in the Colombian Andes?

Before you learn about the trails, let us explain the level of difficulty of each trail in this paragraph.

Difficulty Level

Moderate: The terrain is level, paved, or cobblestoned and clearly marked, with moderate length and no need for excessive physical effort.

  • Suitable for all types of audiences.

Intermediate: The terrain is mostly uncovered, with slopes, humidity, and mud. It requires considerable physical effort due to its length.

  • Not suitable for people with mobility issues.

Difficult: The terrain is mostly uncovered, with steep slopes and demanding conditions that require a high level of physical fitness. The route is usually extensive.

  • Not suitable for seniors, people with cardiac or respiratory problems, children under 8, or pregnant women.

Yarumal Ecological Trail

Location: In the Barbas Bremen National Natural Park in Pereira, Risaralda.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Distance: 21,1 miles.

Trail Type: Circular.

Duration: 1 hour and 27 minutes.

Climate: Temperate.

The Yarumal Ecological Trail crosses the Barbas River, where you can see pools, waterfalls, and howler monkeys. You’ll encounter waterfalls, rocks, ascents, and descents, with clear signage.

Also known as Barbas Bremen, it’s located within the Barbas Bremen Natural Reserve. You can start the hike from nearby towns, passing through mountain routes surrounded by farms and coffee communities.

Cost: Pedestrian access is free of charge.

Note that the reserve is vast, and you might get lost, so we recommend hiring a local guide.

Zipaquirá – Cogua – Neusa Trail

Location: In Zipaquirá, 25 miles from Bogotá in Cundinamarca.

Difficulty Level: Difficult.

Distance: 27,2 miles.

Trail Type: Circular.

Duration: 12 hours.

Climate: Cold.

The trail starts from Zipaquirá, ascending short but challenging sections with loose rocks. Yet, the Andean landscapes you’ll witness upon reaching Neusa will be worth it.

As you approach Zipaquirá passing through Cogua, you’ll encounter steep climbs. This route can be done over several days, allowing camping along some sections.

Cost: Pedestrian access is free of charge.

Route 158: El Otoño Hot Springs – Cueva del Indio

Location: Villamaria, 3,7 kilometers from Manizales in Caldas.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Distance: 5 miles.

Trail Type: Circular.

Duration: 2 hours and 38 minutes.

Climate: Temperate.

Route 158 explores hot springs after an ascent through the mountain, traversing a tropical forest.

You’ll also find a lookout, though it’s privately owned. Nevertheless, you can visit “Cueva del Indio,” a popular stop along the trail, continuing to the El Otoño Hot Springs Hotel.

You’ll truly enjoy a journey blending nature with Andean flora and fauna and local heritage.

Cost: Pedestrian access is free of charge.

Book at El Otoño Hot Springs at the best price.

Siecha Lakes Trail

Location: In the eastern range of the Andes in the Chingaza National Natural Park, 22,3 miles from Bogotá.

Difficulty Level: Difficult.

Distance: 8,2 miles.

Trail Type: Round trip.

Duration: 5 hours and 12 minutes.

Climate: Cold.

Siecha Lake Chingaza
PNN Chingaza

You begin the hike in Guasca in the northern part of the park towards the Siecha lagoon, passing through lookouts showcasing the park’s ecosystems.

You then ascend to the other lakes located atop the park’s mountains, between 2624 and 13123 feet above sea level.

It’s a special spot for Andean flora and fauna sighting due to its high altitudes, requiring excellent physical performance.

Cuchillas de Siecha Trail

Location: In the Chingaza National Natural Park.

Difficulty Level: Difficult.

Distance: 4,4 miles.

Trail Type: Round trip.

Duration: 2 hours and 48 minutes.

Climate: Cold.

You start from the Via Chingaza. This trail takes you to Lomas Peñas, a lookout point overlooking the highlands of the Lagunas de Siecha. During half of the trail, you may be enveloped in mist, which adds a mysterious touch to the tour.

If you’re lucky, you might spot regional wildlife like white-tailed deer or even the Andean bear.

Rincón del Oso Trail

Location: Chingaza National Natural Park.

Difficulty Level: Difficult.

Distance: 38 miles.

Trail Type: Round trip.

Duration: 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Climate: Cold.

Start your journey from the Piedras Gordas Control Point, venturing into the Chingaza National Natural Park.

This beautiful trail leads to an ascent through the high Andean forest, where you can appreciate native flora, fauna, and water resources. It’s a popular hiking route in the park, quiet and with few people around.

  • Keep in mind that exploring all trails within the Chingaza National Natural Park requires an entrance fee.
  • You should also hire the services of a tourist guide and pre-book your spot in the park.

Venecia Estate Trails

Location: In Venecia Estate along El Rosario path in Manizales, between Medellin and Salento, 11 miles from Manizales.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Distance: 42,2 km.

Trail Type: Round trip.

Duration: 2 hours and 22 minutes.

Climate: Temperate.

Facade Hacienda Venecia in Caldas

At Venecia Estate, you can explore paths surrounded by coffee and cocoa plantations coloring the Andean mountains of the coffee axis. Additionally, this experience includes the option of staying amidst nature, with a pool and other luxuries.

If you’re looking to traverse natural trails with basic amenities, this could be the destination you need.

The entrance to the estate has a cost and you must make a reservation in advance. Book Hacienda Venecia at the best price.

Escalador Moor Trail

Location: Near Avenue 1 in Bogotá, at the entrance of the Horizonte de las Moyas in Cundinamarca.

Difficulty Level: Difficult.

Distance: 2,4 miles.

Trail Type: Round trip

Duration: 2 hours and 8 minutes.

Climate: Cold.

The Escalador Moor Trail is a hike through the Andean Eastern Hills, ascending from the Metropolitan Club. The first stretch is steep, through forests leading to a lookout next to an abandoned guardhouse.

The route continues upwards with steep sections demanding considerable effort, leading to a lookout overlooking the Escalador Moor, highlighted by a rock ideal for climbing.

Cost: Pedestrian access is free of charge.

Peñas Blancas Eco Park Trail

Location: In the township of La Virginia Paraje Peñas Blancas in Calarca, Quindío, 7,4 miles from Armenia.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate.

Distance: 3,7 miles.

Trail Type: Round trip.

Duration: 3 hours and 19 minutes.

Climate: Cold.

Peñas Blancas Eco Park is a natural reserve ideal for ecotourism, offering a forest hike ascending towards Peñas Blancas Hill, 918 feet high, with a lookout towards the coffee axis.

Considered a sacred mountain by local indigenous communities, it’s the main attraction of the eco park.

This place is significant for nature conservation in the Quindío basin. During your journey, a local guide will share stories and local legends.

Cost: Charged.

For more information, you can visit the official website to stay updated on news.

Recommendations

To ensure a good experience, here are some essentials you should take with you that will surely help.

  • A backpack.
  • Comfortable sportswear, caps, and suitable footwear, according to the weather.
  • Identification documents.
  • Water and snacks.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • Personal medication.
  • Change of clothes and footwear.
  • Local cash.
  • Do not litter.
  • Do not disturb animals in their habitats.
  • Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the sun and high temperatures.

More nature tourism experiences in Colombia

Here you will find a list of incredible destinations for hiking and other nature activities in Colombia:

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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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