Rucu Pichincha | Quitos Mountain | Highlights, Pros, Cons & Video
Lying on the outskirts of Quito, Ecuador, Rucu Pichincha is a dormant volcano that many people choose to hike. The hike that was first recorded in writing in 1582 is a non-technical hike that is approximately 8-kilometers long. The summit is 15,695 feet above sea level, so hikers often use it as an acclimation hike before attempting higher peaks in Ecuador.
Take the cable car to the start of the hike. There you will find a swing along with a restaurant. Both are popular stopping places for visitors to Quito, even if they do not intend to complete the hike.
Experience Hiking Rucu Pichincha
In this video, you can see some of the beautiful sites that are viewable as you hike up Rucu Pichincha. This video also gives you a sense of some of the hiking conditions that you may encounter, including storms rolling in. As you watch the hikers, you can also sense the effects of the lighter air on them as they move towards the summit.
Highlights of Hiking Rucu Pichincha
- Ride the gondola, the highest in South America, to the start of this hike
- Swing in the swing located at the hike’s beginning
- Start in the morning with breakfast at the restaurant located at the hike’s beginning
- Commence your trek by 11 AM to avoid clouds ruining your hike
- Experience changing breathtaking scenery as you move along the 8-kilometer hike
- Feel victory as you reach the summit located 15,695 feet above sea level
- You will need hiking poles to navigate across rocks blocking part of the trail
- A trekking guide makes the experience safer
- Horses are available for rent and can reach the summit
- Interact with llamas at the summit
- Well-marked trails are easy-to-follow paths
- Feel no pressure to hike to the summit, so if you get tired turn around
- See beautiful wildflowers in pastures
- View scenery for miles on a clear day
Negatives of Hiking Rucu Pichincha
- Hike with a group as solo hikers have been attacked
- Weather can change rapidly, so dress in layers and watch the clouds
- Snow and rain can make the path slippery
- The trail gets tougher as you near the summit, so bring along hiking poles and gloves
- Wear hiking footwear as the trail gets rough near the top
- Use a taxi to get to the base as the area surrounding it can be dangerous for tourists
- Hiking in the higher altitude can make one feel short of breath and dizzy. It is best to proceed in short bursts with ample rest stops in between
- In some places, sheer drop-offs are found next to the path
- Sand near the summit may require you to use your hands to move forward
- Can be crowded on weekends, especially during the dry season that runs from June to September
- Bring water as the windy conditions can dry you out quickly
- Think about packing along with a snack or two as most people spend about five hours completing this hike
Most people will find that hiking Rucu Pichincha takes them about five hours. Start your hike before 11 AM to ensure the best weather for your hike. Take a taxi to the gondola because the area around the start is one of the most dangerous for tourists in Quito, Ecuador.
The gondola that is the highest in South America opens at 9 AM, and you should try to be one of the first on it, and you should plan time to swing and eat at the restaurant before beginning your journey up this dormant volcano.
The path stays well-marked throughout, but the hiking gets tougher, especially as you near the summit. You should dress in layers as the weather can change rapidly, and you may experience a sharp wind chill.
You should also wear good hiking boots and watch your step as some of the sides of the path drop away severely 🙂