Nevado de Toluca – perfect place to combine hiking and cycling

Nevado de Toluca, volcano in the state of Mexico, only about 45 kilometres from Toluca. As with much of our Mexico exploring, we didn’t plan to go there but then we got a message on our instagram, not to skip it.

The top parking where you can camp is at 4135 metres and Toluca city is at 2667 metres. So we were happy as larry when our warmshowers host in Toluca suggested to leave some panniers in their house and go “lightweight”. You go uphill almost all the time, but the real climb starts after 20 kilometres, on paved road and the last 14 kilometres are on dirt. The last place to get water is the last village before joining the dirt road and there are few little tiendas (shops) as well.

There’s the first entrance after about 4 kilometres of the dirt road, but on a bicycle you don’t pay entrance fee (wooohooo, finally somebody realised cycling up that hill is pricey enough!).



It took us about 6 hours of cycling since Toluca to reach the camping spot. We had pretty terrible weather at times, including thunderstorm and hail but we managed to survive all of those and arrived on the ridge when the sun was up again. Btw you can really feel the altitude. If it wasn’t at such height, the uphill cycling would be much easier as the grade is not too steep itself. But you can feel your heavy breathing and pounding heart a lot, man. We cycled to the end where couple of houses stood and paid for the camping (60 peso per person). We picked a spot away from the parking lot.



And then the fog came. Big patches of it covered us in seconds. Quick dinner and off to sleep as tomorrow is a big hiking day!

We woke up in a completely frozen tent but on a clear morning. Packed everything, locked the bikes at the parking lot and headed up. And we could feel the altitude again. We had to stop a lot to breathe but once we did, the breathing quickly settled. Doggies wore their harnesses and were attached to our belts, so we had extra pulling power :). The first view of two lakes down in the crater came early. We followed the path down to Lago de la Luna and then back up heading towards the ridge of the crater on the other side.



Such a beautiful view we got for all the puffing we did on the way up. We made it to 4430 metres and decided not to carry on to the top of Nevado de Toluca (4680 m) as the big clouds started coming in and we knew we had to be back in Toluca that day (not enough food for more days and food is the key). We descended down to Laguna del Sol, encircled it and went back up to the ridge of the crater.



Slightly disturbing was the amount of trash we picked on the way back (6 plastic bottles, one full bag of other plastic) but then when you look at their big boards at the entrance there’s a lot of things prohibited but to put the trash into the containers is only recommended. So who can we blame really?


Anyway, we had a great time hiking, all 4 of us and Phoebe and Lolo ran all the way back down on the dirt road next to our bikes. So who is a small dog? They are olympic athletes!


We really recommend you to include this trip to Nevado de Toluca if you’re visiting or cycling (even better) in Mexico as it’s a beautiful place, mindblowing. Hope the pictures say it all.


Follow Luba Lapsanska:

Older woman, 33 years old, experienced. She stopped being a doctor and started being a traveller. She likes animals more than people because they don't lie. She also likes looking at the the world through the viewfinder of her camera.

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