Casitagua Volcano

Casitagua, Ecuador
Elevation Table
Highest Summit:3514m
"El Gavilán" Hill:2630m
"Mitad del Mundo" Monument:2485m
Caldera floor:3000m


The Casitagua volcano rises on the equator very close to Quito, closing on the western side to the Pomasqui Valley and the towns of Pusuqui and San Antonio de Pichincha. The Pomasqui area is arid, as is the Casitagua volcano, with its slopes heavily eroded and covered with semi-desert vegetation, except for the final summit dome, which is upholstered with Andean scrub and various trees and shrubs resulting from some reforestation campaigns. The Casitagua caldera appears open to the west, with an approximate diameter of 7 kilometers, sheltering some agricultural and grazing lands.


Mitad del Mundo Monument
Mitad del Mundo Monument
Forest near the summit
Forest near the summit

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Western Cordillera; 14 kilometers in a straight line north of Quito; 4 km from the "Mitad del Mundo" Monument. There are some routes to climb the Casitagua; however, in this guide, only one will be mentioned:

1) "El Gavilán" Approach: From Quito take the highway to the "Middle of the World" (north), passing through the "Mitad del Mundo" roundabout, continue for other 5 kilometers on the E28 motorway towards Calacali, until you come to an unmarked turnoff on the left that goes to the Gavilan hill, an additional kilometer on ballast to reach the foot of the hill where this walk usually begins.

"El Gavilán" Approach:
Calacalí Hw – "El Gavilán" Hill5min1.3km


  • One day is usually used for any activity on this mountain.
  • It's convenient to rent a taxi at the entrance to the "Mitad del Mundo" Monument, it can take you to the foot of "El Gavilan" hill. The cost will be about $ 8 dollars.
  • The Casitagua has usually a hot and sunny climate most of the year. An advise for those who want to hike: bring sunscreen, a hat and enough fluids to hydrate. Be always prepared for a rain.
  • Over the years, the Pomasqui Valley inhabitants have made the Casitagua their "training place", opening numerous trails to the summit.
  • All these trails lead to the upper crest joining the main trail to the forest considered the summit.

Climbing and Hiking

There are some attractive routes in the Casitagua area:

  • Casitagua Summit from El Gavilán
  • Casitagua Summit from the Middle of the World Monument
  • Summit starting at Juan Bautista street
  • Summit from Pusuquí Chico Alto neighborhood
  • Trekking Nono - Casitagua
  • Trekking Casitagua - Ruco Pichincha
  • Trekking Casitagua - Pululahua
  • Descent to the Pululahua crater
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Stachys elliptica
Stachys elliptica
Salvia scutellarioides
Salvia scutellarioides

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