The Rumiñahui is delimiting the north side of the Cotopaxi National Park, occupying the eastern section of the Nudo de Tiopullo in its convergence with the Eastern Cordillera. It is an ancient volcano already extinct and with a large caldera open towards the northwest. Its name comes from the quichua “rumi”, which means “stone” and “ñahui” which means “eye”; what would come to be “Eye of Stone”. It has three main summits: the North Summit is the highest; the Central is the easiest; and the South is the most difficult.
National Park: Parque Nacional Cotopaxi
Near the North Summit
Eastern Cordillera; 43 kilometers in a straight line south of Quito; 10 km from Machachi. There are four main routes for approaching Rumiñahui:
1) Approach "Control Norte": In the central plaza of Machachi you can ask for the road to the Cotopaxi National Park North Control, the first section is paved and later ballasted, more appropriate for 4 × 4 vehicles. It is necessary to register in the north control and continue to the Laguna de Limpiopungo where the hike begins.
2) Approach "Control Caspi": From Quito, take the Panamerican Hw towards Latacunga, passing Machachi, go up to the highs of the Tiopullo knot, and then go down towards Lasso, as soon as you finish this descent you will find a well-signposted detour indicating the exit to Cotopaxi. The road is paved for the most part and goes through the Cotopaxi National Park Caspi Control where registration is mandatory. A few kilometers more, the pavement ends and it continues the old ballast road that reaches the Limpiopungo Lagoon.
3) Approach "El Pita": From Sangolquí, Redondel del Choclo, it is taken to the south by Juan de Salinas avenue, following straight ahead it will end up arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park North Control and later to the Limpiopungo Lagoon.
4) Approach "El Boliche": From Machachi, continue to the south by the Panamerican Hw to the highlands of the Nudo de Tiopullo, the higher ground is covered by pine forest, there you may find the road to "El Boliche" National Recreation Area. This approach requires a longer trekking and greater effort than the previous mentioned.
|Control Caspi Approach:|
|Panamerican Hw – Limpiopungo Lagoon||45min||20km|
|Control Norte Approach:|
|Machachi – Limpiopungo||1h10min||27km|
|Sangolquí – Limpiopungo||1h15min||35km|
|El Boliche Approach:|
|Panamerican Hw – El Boliche||5min||2.8km|
- It is usually required one day for climbing to the summit of this mountain.
- If you don't have private transportation, it is convenient to rent a pickup truck taxi in the central park of Machachi or Latacunga. It is also possible to rent a pickup truck at the beginning of the road that goes from the Pan-American to the Caspi Control; the transport company “Refugio Jose Rivas S.A.” They have an office at this place and provide this service almost every day of the year.
- The entrance time to the Cotopaxi National Park is from 8am to 3pm by any of the two accesses, every day of the year. The exit is maximum at 5pm.
- Access to motorcycles or quadrons is not allowed.
- It's forbidden to drive outside the established routes. This infraction is subject to a fine.
- Pets are not allowed.
- The vehicle is parked at the Limpiopungo Lagoon parking lot, 3867 meters.
- You can choose to take a short hike around the lagoon; or to hike to the Rumiñahui summit, which requires much effort.
Climbing and Hiking
There are some attractive routes:
- Limpiopungo - North Summit
- Limpiopungo - Central Summit
- Limpiopungo - South Summit
- Trail around the Limpiopungo Lagoon
- Trekking Boliche - Limpiopungo
- Trekking Panzaleo - Limpiopungo