Hike Through the El Yunque Rain Forest
Puerto Rico › El Yunque Trail
Added by Emily Kent
The beautifully lush El Yunque National Rain Forest is located in Northeastern Puerto Rico. The hike along the El Yunque Trail will take you to the peak of the rain forest for a breathtaking vantage point.
Hiking the El Yunque Trail is a 5 mile round trip, about 3 to 4 hours in duration, with a moderate to difficult skill level. In parts, the paved path is well-maintained, and in others, you'll need to navigate very wet, muddy terrain. The trail takes you up up through the Palo Colorado Forest, to the Palma Sierra, and finally the Dwarf Forest. Be sure to take note of your path as certain areas of the trail are not well marked. Look for waterfalls and natural pools along the way, as well as the native Coqui Tree Frog - listen for them! On the way back, you can retrace your steps or take an alternate route along the Mt. Britton Spur Trail, which will take you to the Mt. Britton lookout tower for an amazing, sweeping view of the forest. It's hard to go wrong with any path chosen here!
Take Route 3 to Rio Grande. Once you reach Rio Grande, take Route 955 to Road 191. Continue on Road 191 until you see the El Yunque Trail head, located at Kilometer 12.2. It’s directly across from the Palo Alto Information Center. Park in one of the parking lots for the center or along the roadside if it’s full.
El Yunque Peak: (18.310433, -65.791436)
El Yunque Trail: (18.301547, -65.784858)
Note: Road 191 is currently closed (1/2016) above the Palo Colorado Visitors Center. In order to get to Mt Britton Tower (or trail) if you're planning to visit this tower, you need to take the El Yunque Trail up and then turn left when you get to the “chimney” T (as opposed to going right at this point which will get you toward EL Yunque Peak).
- Camera gear
- Rain gear
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Entry into the park is free
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Beautiful But Touristy
El Yunque is a very popular destination. If you go to La Minha Falls to get your fill of beautiful waterfalls, expect a lot of tourists. The hiking paths are hilly. The views are amazing. Also, some trails are dangerous as well as difficult. Parts of the trails are thin, overlook a steep hill, and are slippery. It can be a rough combination. However, there are plenty of paths for beginners or for those seeking a casual experience. Just as around to find out which are best for you. Wildlife can be hard to see on the popular trails. The traffic can also be terrible, so I'd suggest not driving yourself unless you're familiar with the area. The roads turn tightly and there can be a lot of traffic (both tourists and other cars). Also, make sure to check out the observation tower for some spectacular sights.
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