If you ever find yourself in Mexico City with more than a day or two I highly recommend taking the trip out to the Nevado de Toluca. About one and a half hours north of Mexico City, for me, it was a great day trip to do something different and explore the countryside of Mexico.
To be honest I hadn’t even heard of Nevado de Toluca before one of my friends reached out to me and asked if I was interested in joining her for an adventure. Of course my answer was yes! and thus began our planning. Thanks to M’s connections we had the great opportunity to travel through Kaxan Adventures and the guide/her friend Arturo. I was incredibly happy with this trip and would highly recommend Arturo if you want to make the trip up the Nevado de Toluca.
Our trip start at 4:00am (!) on Sunday, September 22 leaving Mexico City and driving 1.5 hours to the mountain. We arrived at the parking lot right as the sun was peaking over the horizon and I huddled in my light jacket and 8 dollar tennis shoes as I waited for everyone else put on their expensive hiking boats and heavy jackets. Something to note it was COLD in the beginning before the sun came up. I was comfortable most of the time, but I recommend bringing layers and definitely a wind breaker if you’re planning on hiking the mountain.
Starting at 4,200 m (13,800 ft) and topping out at 4,680m (15,354 ft) altitude sickness is a real concern. After we parked the car we got in the back of a truck and cuddled together of the bumpy 30 minute ride up to the starting point of our hike. On our trip up this poor 8 year old boy started feeling sick and eventually began throwing up. If you have kids, please note they advise you wait until kids are 12+ before bringing them above 4000m. Thankfully none of our group of 5 got sick or really even struggled that much to adjust. The first 10-20 minutes or so are really slow as you feel like you’re walking in water, but then your body should adjust and away you go.
The Nevado de Toluca has a breathtaking, desert beauty. Rare high-altitude flowers sprinkle the golden glass and occasionally float in the wind as mountain peaks paint the background; not a bad view as you’re weezing up the hillside.
The hike itself is pretty straight forward, but I would recommend hiring a guide. He brought all the gear, planned the ascent/descent, and in general made sure we didn’t run into any problems. In total the hike took about 5 hours with an elevation gain of about 480m (~1500 f). It took 3 hours to the submit and 2 for our descent down and walk through the forest and then along the road back to our car.
With our legs shaking and faces streaked with dirt we climbed back into the car satisfied and ready for a nap.