Nevado De Toluca - Hiking up a Volcano
Hey guys, how are you all doing? Anjuri & I have finally settled in our zones and are trying to make the best of it by bringing to you content from Mexico and India simultaneously. In the middle of last April we made a random weekend plan to visit Nevado de Toluca. Sitting on our to-do list for eons, it was finally time to make it happen. Entonces, time for our first hike in Mexico. Yayyyy!
Nevado de Toluca is the fourth highest peak in Mexico and located just about 80kms west of Mexico City near the city of Toluca. The stratovolcano and the area surrounding it is now cited as a national park.
We were enthralled by the beauty of this place, which looked like a desert and temperatures as low as 0 degrees at the top, during noon. It’s the best place to spot some snow close to Mexico City (which otherwise is nonexistent), however when we visited, there was none, which made our hike a little easier. I just recently drove by Nevado and saw that the peaks were all covered in snow, a beautiful sight to behold.
Nevado has a 1.5 km wide summit caldera which is open to the east. The highest summit, 4680m (15,354 ft.) Pico del Fraile (Friar's Peak), is on the southwest side of the crater and the second highest, 4,640m (15,223 ft.) Pico del Aguila (Eagle's Peak), is on the northwest.
There are two crater lakes on the floor of the basin at about 4,200m (13,800 ft.), the larger Lago del Sol (Sun Lake) and the smaller, but deeper, Lago de la Luna (Moon Lake). You can walk down to the crater lakes after reaching the top, however the hike back up is a little strenuous so we skipped it.
We travelled with 8 -10 friends and parked our cars in the parking lot, after which we took the rental jeep/van that is used to ferry people, up and down from the main summit. It will take longer if you decide to trek all the way up right from the basecamp.
We just drove up and felt the chill in the air. The air was thinner as we approached the top. We were not well prepared for the weather and had to borrow some caps to cover our heads, from a couple of kids who carried an extra one just for some stupid adults like us ;) Imagine wearing just a denim jacket when it is 0 degrees! Our hands and nose were frozen while we were reminiscing the view of crater lakes from the top. It was windy and the sun was playing hide and seek.
I wouldn’t say that the trek is easy, it is a level three trek and most of the time quite steep. You must carry water, warm clothes and be able to breathe with the little oxygen available up top. We were elated to be able to make it to the top of the fourth highest peak in Mexico. And the view was our reward. Sadly we had to start walking back as the wind would have blown Anjuri away, if we stayed any longer ;)
A 45 minute walk brought us back to the place where the vans had dropped us. We were famished from all the hiking and went straight to one of the many quaint little restaurants lining the mud streets at the basecamp.
I would go again sometime around December / January as I really want to hike when the peaks are all capped in snow and will definitely share with you all if it was better or worse ;)