Top 05 stunning Rio de Janeiro hiking trails – Brazil
5 – PEDRA BONITA (Beautiful rock)
Located in the world’s largest urban forest. The ‘Pedra Bonita’ at ‘Tijuca’ forest in Rio de Janeiro offers unparalleled views of the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’. To get there take a taxi to the ‘São Conrado’ hang-gliding ramp following the ‘Estrada da Canoa’ upto the “Trilha da Pedra Bonita” sign. The path is steep but there are no major obstacles leading to the top of Pedra Bonita. The track is considered mild and relatively easy through a path that lasts up to 45 minutes. The starting point of the trail is near the gliding and paragliding ramp. Once you’ve reached the peak, you’ll be able to explore the fairly smooth, flat surface of the Pedra Bonita. Perfect for a picnic while taking in the gob smacking views of surrounding mountains, Rocinha favela and the Rio de Janeiro cityscape. You’ll never realize just how vast and diverse the landscape is until you’ve seen it from the top of Pedra Bonita.
4 – MORRO DA URCA (Sugarloaf Mountain)
The ‘Urca Hill’ is the smaller hill located besides the iconic ‘Sugarloaf Mountain’ (Pão de Açúcar). About 1.5 km long, the trail leading upto the top of the Urca Hill alternates steep climbs and more flat stretches. It’s roughly a 40 minute walk which, in return, offers fantastic views of the ‘Guanabara’ Bay. The trail starts at the walking track ‘Claudio Coutinho’, on the left corner of the ‘Red Beach’ (Praia Vermelha). Through this path, the cable car terminal is reached on the ‘Urca’ hill, and it’s where you can buy tickets to go up till the Sugar Loaf or down to the Red Beach. Hike up (it is actually more of a pleasurable uphill stroll). The first section of the trail is paved, and the second is a bit more difficult, especially after the rain, with slippery mud and tree roots jutting out. Make sure to wear hiking shoes or at least sneakers. Take a camera! Tamarin families and several bird specieis will be in eyes grasp. It’s a real treat. If possible, try it!
3 – MORRO DOIS IRMÃOS (Two Brothers Hill)
Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) are the two iconic hills at the western end of the Ipanema/Leblon beaches. The trail is about 1.5 km long. At the end of the path, the observation deck allows for a sweeping view of the entire South Zone of Rio (Zona Sul). The ‘Vidigal’ community is the starting location of the track. Along the way you’ll also encounter two monuments (one generic monument and one in rememberence of the victims of an Air France flight crash of 2009). Just follow ‘Aperana street’ in the ‘Leblon’ borough till the park. You will have to find the trailhead at the top of the Vidigal (the favela just after Leblon facing the ocean). You can walk to trailhead or take a moto-taxi (R$3 or $1 dollar) cheap and fun not to say exciting. It’s highly recommended to do this trail with a guide. Security measures are a concern on this one.
2 – PEDRA DO TELÉGRAFO (Telegraph Rock)
The ‘Telegraph Rock’ has attracted a lot of people interested in taking pictures in the “edge”, with unusual poses in a simply wonderful landscape. The site has attracted so many people that some days have to queue. To get there you need to climb a 50-minute track, the trail is of moderate difficulty, it is steep but with breathtaking views. You can go without a guide, the trail begins on the steps of the Church of ‘Nossa Senhora das Dores’ in front of ‘Praia Grande’, the place is known as the ‘Way of the Fishermen’. Up there the view is different. No clichés. You find a wild blue yonder on the horizon where the blue of the sea mixes with the blue of the sky. We can see the wild beaches, the beaches of the western Rio and also at the background, the view of the ‘Pedra da Gávea’. The trail is light, but it needs help from the taxi bike to skip a step.
1 – PEDRA DA GÁVEA (Top mast Stone)
Considered one of the most difficult trails in Rio de Janeiro. This is the ideal trail for those who enjoy a lot of adventure and adrenaline, but you need attention and fitness to climb the ‘Pedra da Gávea’. The stone is located in the Tijuca National Park, the entire hike lasts about 7 hours. On the way we pass by ancient trees, historic ruins, caves amid rain forest. Despite the long and hard path, its summit offers a sensational view of the city of Rio de Janeiro, something breathtaking. To minimize the risk of the climb, we recommend the support of an experienced guide. At the end of the trail, there is the escalation of the ‘carrasqueira’, a wall about 30 meters high, considered the most critical point of the route. After that just enjoy the view!