Ruco Pichincha

Ruco Pichincha, Ecuador
Elevation Table
Highest Summit:4698m
Low "Teleferico" st.:2983m
High "Teleferico" st.:3992m
Rock ridge foot:4436m
Sand slopes foot:4514m
Rock door:4656m


Ruco Pichincha or "Rucu" Pichincha means "old" Pichincha. The Ruco is part of the old Pichincha volcano, whose caldera seems to have been located towards the western side, limited on that flank by Cerro Ladrillos and Padre Encantado. The new pichincha volcano is the "Guagua" Pichincha, the Ruco neighbor, which has surprised Quito many times with strong eruptions and ash falls. The proximity of the Ruco to the city and the ease of approaching by cable car make it a favorite place for tourism and sports training. Many adventurers fight its sandy slopes and rocks, easy to conquer when following the "arenal" route to the summit; and a little more demanding following the rock ridge route (“Las Agujas”), which offers interesting climbing possibilities.


Teleférico Quito
Teleférico Quito
Trail to the Ruco Pichincha
Trail to the Ruco Pichincha
"Las Agujas" route

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Western Cordillera; 8.5 kilometers in a straight line west of Quito. There are three routes to approach the Ruco Pichincha:

1) Normal Approach “Teleférico”: It's without a doubt the fastest way to ascend the Ruco Pichincha. Take a taxi to the Teleferico Quito station (cableway); the ascent to the High Station takes approximately 18 minutes, the hike starts in paramo at almost 4000 meters high.

2) “Antenas” Approach: Iñaquito Alto neighborhood, to the west of Mañosca and Av. Antonio Jose de Sucre. There begins the road to the “Antenas del Pichincha” ( pichincha antennae). This road is closed for private vehicles; however, it can be used by bicycles or walkers. This hike to the Ruco Pichincha lasts at least four hours longer than the cableway route.

3) “Padre Encantado” Approach: This route starts at the Guagua Pichincha refuge. Take the road to Lloa in the south of Quito, La Mena 2 neighborhood, Angamarca street. It's possible to take a bus to this town; and there rent a pickup truck - taxi that sometimes reach the Guagua Pichincha refuge. The road is paved and in good conditions until Lloa, later paved and ballasted to the Guagua Pichincha refuge. It is advisable to go in 4×4 vehicles, especially the last part. The hike starts next to the Guagua Pichincha refuge, taking a trail to the Padre Encantado, Cerro Ladrillos and Ruco Pichincha. This route is known as "La Integral de los Pichinchas".

“Teleférico” Approach:
Low "Teleferico" st. – High "Teleferico" st.2.5km18min
High "Teleferico" st. – Ruco Pichincha Summittrekking3-4h
“Padre Encantado” Approach:
La Mena 2 – Lloa10km13min
Lloa – Guagua Pichincha refuge14.5km50min
Refuge – Ruco Pichincha - Teleféricotrekking6-7h


  • One day is usually required to climb the summit of this mountain.
  • The Teleférico operating hours are from 9am to 8pm tuesday to thursday, from 8am to 8pm friday to monday, may change depending on the season. Ascent or descent time: 18 minutes. Maximum return time: 7:30pm.
  • The Teleférico cost is 4.99 adults, 2.99 children, 2.50 disabled and seniors. To be favored with this rate it is necessary to present the Ecuadorian citizenship card. Pets and bicycles are allowed for an additional fee.
  • Weekends and holidays may have long queues. There is the option to purchase an express ticket for a price of $ 8.50 adults and $ 7.00 children and seniors. This ticket allows to embark quickly. All foreigners or Ecuadorians without a citizenship card must present this ticket.
  • Additional Teleférico information: Teleferiqo Quito
  • The cableway climbs 1000 meters in just 18 minutes; It is possible for some people to feel the altitude sickness.
  • The Teleferico viewpoints will give you excellent views of Quito and the surrounding mountains.
  • Hiking lovers can follow some trails. One of them leads through an easy and well signposted path to the summit of the Ruco Pichincha (Arenal Route).
  • Cycling lovers have some downhill choices. Take into account that the bicycle pays an additional fee at the Teleférico.
  • Other activities at this place: climbing and paragliding.

Climbing and Hiking

There are some attractive routes:

  • High "Teleferico" st. tourist circuit
  • Ascent to the Ruco Pichincha summit from the Teleférico
  • Ascent to the Ruco Pichincha summit from the "antenas"
  • Trekking "Integral del Pichincha": Guagua Pichincha - Padre Encantado - Cerro Ladrillos - Ruco Pichincha
  • Trekking Nono - Ruco Pichincha
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Pappobolus imbaburensis
Pappobolus imbaburensis
Erygium humile
Erygium humile
Calamagrostis intermedia
Calamagrostis intermedia

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