Looking For an Easy Day Hike From Quito? Try Ilalo
If you’re looking for an easy half day hike from Quito, you could do worse than Ilalo. This long dead volcano on the outskirts of Quito is easy to get to, and boasts some pleasant views of the surrounding countryside, from Cotopaxi to Pichincha.
The hike itself is a gentle, 2-3 hour affair starting from El Tingo. To get to the El Tingo trailhead from Quito, take a green bus from the long distance bus station just south of La Marin trolley bus station. It’s about a five minute walk downhill, following the main road. El Tingo buses are at the far end.
The bus should drop you off near the Hostal Margarita in El Tingo. Head towards the main square, about 2-3 blocks from the hostel. The trailhead is just next to the church on the square.
The path starts by climbing through some hillside neighbourhoods towards a cute church looking over the valley. There’s plenty of chickens, and a few gazing cows. Past the church, the path turns to dirt, and the climb gets a little steeper. The path is adorned with crosses every so often, until you reach a giant cross near the summit. From the big cross, it’s just another 30 minutes to the peak. Once you hit the peak, you can either press on to Tumbaco and bus back, or return to El Tingo and grab a bus by waiting near Hostal Margarita. Either way, you’ll be in for some great views. A worker at the church on the El Tingo side said the view is even better at night, but remember buses stop running around 2030. I’m also not sure if I’d want to take the path down in the dark anyway. There are plenty of dogs, and most of the way is unlit.
During the day, the trail is very obvious, and perfectly do-able for practically any fitness level (I even saw a herd of school children manage the peak). The summit itself is only around 3100m, so your lungs will thank you if you’ve been doing high altitude stuff. Just be sure to bring a good hat; most of the path is exposed, with only intermittent shade. It’s also a little dusty, due to some nasty erosion. But, the views are worth it!
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