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Volcán Paricutín Climber's Log

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Andrew RankineNot the easiest route to find  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Feb 16, 2016

Andrew Rankine

Scroll down for some basic directions on the hike.

Sunday: Saw Chivas lose to Leon at Estadio Omnilife in Zapopan
Monday: Bus to Uruapan via Morelia. It was packed because the Pope was coming to Morelia the next day.
Tuesday: Walked to bus station in Uruapan to catch the first bus of the morning to Angahuan, which leaves at 5.45 am. The company that runs the bus to Angahuan is Tarasco or Tarascaran, the end booth (the furthest West). The bus was actually a little van (combi), and we set off by 6.15 am, stopping for awhile at the center square near a fountain for the driver to take a 15 minute nap. We arrived in Angahuan by 7:15 and began walking in the dark. A few people asked us if we needed guides and said it would not be possible to hike there. We thanked them for the advice and continued walking. From walking down the big road straight across from the bus stop we got to the town square with the big church. We got a little lost but eventually found the way. We made it to the visitor center and went downhill on the dirt road, and eventually made it to the ruined church Viejo San Juan Parangaricutiro. We took some pictures. A stray dog started to follow us and she ended up hiking with us the entire day, some 15 miles (including 5 of being lost).

From the ruined church we looked for a path but didn't find anything. So we started climbing through the lava fields to the East where we thought there would be a trail. In hindsight we did find a dirt road that began from the little tiendas (shops) close to the church. We ended up in a pine sanctuary and talked with a guy who worked there who said we should continue along a dirt road, and go left at a fork. Bad idea. We followed the directions and ended up adding 4 miles the wrong way. Then we took the right fork and went a mile until we began to see the ruined church again and realized we had made a wrong turn again. Then as we came back to the junction, we noticed a small turnout that had a locked car gate. We fit through the side of the gate via a little door and found ourselves on a trail. We hiked gradually around, then up a hill, then past a strange little pink house, and finally to the lava field. There was a basic path that went through the lava field with white/yellow spraypainted markers. It was rough going but not as slow as one might think after climbing around the ruined church. This path led us to the bottom of the cinder cone, and from there to switchbacks that led to the summit.

At this point we had gotten lost too many times and were worried about catching the last bus back (at 6 or 7 pm said the lady at the counter in Uruapan). And we were tired and hot from doing 10 miles. We retraced our steps, and found some shortcuts and made it back to the bus station by the 6 pm bus. It seems that shared taxis are also very common back to Uruapan and cost 30-50 pesos, based on the quotes drivers gave us.

Other note: We saw some people coming to the summit from the west side, without going through the lava field. I don't know how this works.

Directions for a successful ascent:

1. From the bus stop walk straight down the main road (south), on your right will be a steep hill. The road curves to the left a little bit. Follow this to the church and town square.
2. At the church, turn right (west), and walk along the north side of the square. Follow this road until you reach a junction with a 45 degree angle to the left.
3. Turn left and follow this road for a long time until you reach the visitor center. Instead of entering the center, take the dirt road to the right. It will begin to go downhill. If you continue on this road you will end up at the ruined church. The quickest way, however, is to avoid the church. As you walk down this road you will see another rougher looking road on your left. There is a place where it looks like people have been ducking through the fence. Crawl through the fence and take this road to the right (downhill). Continue past a couple small junctions (just go straight/take the bigger road) and you will end up at the junction that I mentioned in the TR above.
4. From the junction go right (west) to the sign for San Juan or ruinas. Then, maybe 100 yards later, look for a turn on your left with a white gate.
5. Pass through the white gate and turn right. You will be on level ground, then ascend a hill. Continue on this trail, which becomes smaller, and you will reach the lava field. Follow the spraypaint markings to the summit. Return the same way.

ALT Route-- not completely tested

From the visitor center and dirt road, follow the nice dirt road all the way to the ruined church. On the west side, with the tiendas, outside of the lava-covered area, you will find a road that goes south, and curves around to the east. Follow this road. Just before the junction I mentioned in the TR you will see a pull out and white gate on your right. Pass through the gate and go right like step 5 above.

For us this hike ended up being about 26 km, but the recommended route is 16 km long if one does not get lost.

Waypoints:

Bus stop: 19°33'07.8"N 102°13'12.8"W
Church/town square: 19°32'52.1"N 102°13'29.4"W
The 45-degree junction: 19°32'54.1"N 102°13'35.9"W
Visitor Center: 19°32'32.7"N 102°14'04.1"W
Junction between the two dirt roads (crawl under fence here): 19°32'20.5"N 102°14'18.9"W
Junction near the gate: 19°31'40.3"N 102°14'22.8"W
The gate: 19°31'36.0"N 102°14'28.4"W
Summit: 19°29'39.4"N 102°15'05.6"W

ALT route coordinates:
Bus stop: 19°33'07.8"N 102°13'12.8"W
Church/town square: 19°32'52.1"N 102°13'29.4"W
The 45-degree junction: 19°32'54.1"N 102°13'35.9"W
Visitor Center: 19°32'32.7"N 102°14'04.1"W
Tiendas at the ruined church: 19°32'04.5"N 102°14'53.7"W
Road junction at the ruined church: 19°31'59.3"N 102°14'57.3"W
The gate: 19°31'36.0"N 102°14'28.4"W
Summit: 19°29'39.4"N 102°15'05.6"W
Posted Mar 22, 2016 2:04 pm

SocorroLong day  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 5, 2008

Socorro

Rode horses to the volcano and the church making for a really long, sore day. Got a hazy view with just enough visibility to see the surrounding landscape. Really steamy and a really warm, wet descent in the sand. Visitors are making quite a scar on the slopes. Pretty fun to see this famous volcano in person!
Posted Dec 22, 2011 11:54 pm

ncstQuite a trip  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Nov 1, 2009

ncst

We tried to walk to the volcano from Angahuan (from the ruins of the church of San Juan Parangaricutiro) and walked into the lava field a bit but turned back to spend the night in the 'centro ecoturistico Pantzingo', which I can recommend (best reached from San Juan Nuevo). In the lava field we met four Mexican teenagers who also intended to get to the volcano, but we heard the day after that they had gotten lost and had spent the night in the lava field to be rescued the next morning. From Pantzingo we joined a group of 80 students to visit the ruins (again) and drove by jeep to the foot of the volcano, from where it was a short walk to the summit. I'd say for this one you really need a guide/horse/jeep!
Posted Nov 2, 2009 7:43 pm

gringoinmexicosomething different  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 18, 2009
Really fun trip. I actually climbed up the main cone of the volcano by way of the descent route, which I would recommend to anyone interested in a bit of a workout. It's a very steep climb straight up the volcano through the black sand of the volcano. It provides a great view the entire way up.
Posted Aug 19, 2009 3:54 pm

Brett AThe youngest mountain I've climbed  Sucess!
Our friend Chucho drove us up there from Uruapan, although the cra broke down briefly and we had to fix it en route with cattle looking on. The view is great, but the best part is the quick descent on the scree.
Posted Dec 13, 2008 8:26 pm

flechenbonesNice trip.  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 17, 2006

flechenbones

First real hike since my back trouble began in early 2005. That made it even more sweet. Took the ruta collado up and the ruta sur on the way back. Lava field was fun to cross and provided nice views of Paricutin the whole way there. Low visibility while climbing the cone and a lightning storm developed. Fortunately, it didn't last long and the clouds lifted giving nice views of the region. Rained most of the way back. Would love to come back for nearby Pico de Tancitaro some time.
Posted Jul 6, 2006 1:32 am

BaarbDia larga  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 2, 2006

Baarb

One hell of a day! Only 2 of us on the volcano the whole time, hiked the whole thing across the lava field, views from the top stunning, the whole area is just littered with volcanic cones, no suprise then that Paracutin turned up where it did. You can see the Colima volcanic complex from the summit too, hang around to see an eruption!
Posted Jun 11, 2006 9:24 pm

big_gSurprisingly entertaining  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jan 9, 2006

big_g

Thoroughly enjoyable. I approached a caballo and went up via Boca de Lava Sur. I found it to be an interesting days outing and on the return visited the buried church at San Juan Viejo which really impressed me.
Posted Feb 13, 2006 7:13 pm

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