A great acclimatization hike and day hike that's basically in Quito

Rucu Pinchincha is an incredibly accessible (yet difficult) hike from Quito. If you're staying in the Old Town or Mariscal, it's a cheap cab ride to the base of the Teleferico (cable car) that will take you up to the start of the hike. The cable car opens at 9am most days, and costs 8.50 for foreigners.

A 20 min ride brings you to almost 12.5k ft. There are a couple of shops and a viewpoint here. The trail is obvious, heading away from the top of the cable car and towards the mountain. You'll climb through the scrub grasses for a while, all the time with views of Quito below. 

After a while, you'll reach the base of Rucu, where the trail starts to veer right around the mountain. Gain a bit more altitude and you'll reach a sandy section that you'll have to trudge up to the main part of the ridge where you'll take a left towards the summit. This last ridge section is a bit of a scramble, but you shouldn't have any problems finding easy ways (or having some fun by making it harder). From the peak, if you're lucky you can see Antisana, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe.

The weather can change quickly here, so come prepared with plenty of water, warm clothes/raingear, and possibly gloves. Keep in mind that the summit is at 15,695 ft, so altitude is definitely a concern if you're not acclimatized yet. Allow 5-6 hours for this hike.

Pack List

  • Hiking gear
  • Raincoat
  • Plenty of water (gotta drink a lot at altitude)
  • Camera
  • Possibly gloves, if the weather looks bad
  • Warm clothes (weather can change quickly)
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Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back


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