Lloa - Mindo Hiking Trail
|Cristal River Crossing||2102m|
|Cinto River Crossing||1872m|
|Cinto River Bridge (End of trail)||1370m|
The Lloa - Mindo trail starts to the west of Quito, southwestern area of the Guagua Pichincha Volcano. It's an ancient trail, probably pre-Hispanic, that connected the mountains to the coast, starting from the andean town of Lloa and arriving at the Mindo jungle. At present it has become customary to hike this trail in the summer months, a single day and the shortest route ignoring the vehicular road sections. The trail begins in the subtropical forest at the foot of the Guagua Pichincha volcano, cross the Cristal river and the floor of rocks that are the natural debris of the lahars and pyroclatic material from the eruptions of the volcano whose crater is open to this side. Later, the path crosses the Cinto River through a rustic wooden bridge and continues down in the middle of an exuberant nature, going down through this great biodiversity area always following the margin of the Cinto River until finally reaching the vehicular bridge where this hike is currently considered to end.
National Park: Reserva Ecológica Mindo-Nambillo
Western Cordillera. Start of the trail: 13.5 kilometers in a straight line west of Quito. End of the trail: 4.5 kilometers in a straight line south of Mindo.
|Quito (La Mena 2) - Lloa||10.5km||17min|
|Lloa - Start of Trail||17.5km||35min|
|Lloa - Mindo Trail||32km||8h30|
|End of Trail - Mindo||16km||40min|
|Mindo - Quito||114km||2h|
- It's possible to reach Lloa by taking a bus on the Angamarca street, La Mena 2 neighborhood, south of Quito. These buses pass during the day approximately every 30 minutes.
- You can get a pickup truck - taxi at Lloa to take you to the trail start; it's possible to find them on the main town entrance or on the main square; although sometimes it is necessary to wait a while.
- The 1-day hike ends about 16 kilometers from Mindo, for this reason it's important to arrange in advance a transport for taking you to the town. Otherwise, it is better to plan the hike in 2 days.
- Summer is usually preferred (from June to October) because in winter the trails can be very muddy and the rivers difficult to cross.
- In the summer months, the advise is to go with trekking boots, for winter with rubber boots.
- Always carry a rope to ensure the passage of rivers; Above all the Cinco River, there's currently a rustic wooden bridge but it could easily disappear as it has happened on previous occasions.
- The path is wide and for the most part easy to identify; However, there are about two detours that could confuse you.
- When going down from the mountains to the coast, the temperature rises.
- The trail crosses the Crystal River which descends from the Guagua Pichincha crater, later it crosses the Cinto River and follows it for a few hours on the left bank; It eventually ends up crossing the bridge over this river connecting with the vehicular road. This last part is important to be careful not to pass the bridge, since there is other path that continues down on the side of the river.