Cerro de la Silla (translated to "Chair Mountain") is a nice little volcano next to the sleepy town of Macheros and the Cerro Pelón Butterfly Sanctuary. Even though it is a quick hike, not that many people visit the mountain, but it is still a nice hike and climb. The mountain is an old volcano and is made of volcanic rocks. There are Aztec ruins, including a small pyramid near the top. The mountain is also rich in bird life and we saw many hawks and eagles. The area around Cerro Pelón has become famous in recent years because of the North American monarch butterfly migration where literally millions of butterflies gather for the winter on the slopes of Cerro Pelón. The area around Cerro Pelón itself is much lest touristy than the butterfly reserve at El Rosario. A visit to the area is high recommended.
As of now, the butterflies flock to Cerro Pelón, next to Cacique and no butterflies roost on Cerro de la Silla. It is too low and not moist enough. Because of this, the mountain is mostly ignored. As mentioned, it is still a re nice hike/climb and highly recommended. The views of Cerro Pelón and Nevado Toluca are really nice as well. Although not that far from Mexico City (2.5 hours), this area is far removed from the hustle, bustle, crowds, and noise of the City. Macheros, the launching point for the mountain is a nice, quiet, and peaceful rural hamlet.
Buses in Mexico is convenient, safe, inexpensive, and comfortable. Most buses run 7 days a week, year-round, including all holidays. Most people come from Mexico City and the east, but we came from the west.
From the East and Mexico City to Zitácuaro
From JM’s Butterfly Reserve B&B:
If you are coming from the Mexico City airport or elsewhere in the city, take a taxi or the metro to the Observatorio terminal, also known as Poniente (it’s at the end of the pink metro line). Buy a “directo” ticket to Zitácuaro with a company called La Linea. Their desk is across from the restaurant/snack bar area. They take credit cards. Buses leave every hour during the week and every half hour on weekends. They run from 4 am til 10 pm. The ride takes about two and a half hours. As of December 2017, a one-way ticket costs about 260 MXN.
From the West and Morelia to Zitácuaro
In Morelia, buses for Zitácuaro leave Terminal B in the center of the main bus terminal every half hour all day long with a company called Alegra. This bus is not a “directo,” so expect the ride to take at least 3 hours.
From Zitácuaro to Macheros via Taxi
When you arrive at the bus terminal in Zitácuaro, walk outside the main entrance to the queue of authorized taxis. You do not need to check in at the authorized taxi window ; they only sell tickets for transport within Zitácuaro. You need to ask the next driver in the line to take you to Macheros (pronounced Mah CHAIR os) in the State of Mexico. The fare should not be more than 300 MXN. The drive to Macheros takes about 30 minutes.
From Zitácuaro to Macheros via Public Transportation
For the budget traveler, there is also a public transportation service called a combi (a refitted VW bus) that can take you part of the way to our place. Exit the bus station and cross the street. The combis leave from the street that is to the left of the large supermarket in front of you. Take one that goes to Aputzio de Juarez get off at La Piedra. La Piedra is the on the border of the state of Mexico, where the combis are not authorized to operate. There are usually taxis waiting here if you arrive before dark: take one to Macheros from there. Note that if you are traveling solo, the taxis won’t leave until they have another fare. Also note that the taxi drivers call it a day by sunset, so plan your travels accordingly.
The route to the mountain is easy to find without a guide, but I'd still recommend taking a guide since it's only a small fee and he/she can point out some of the Aztec ruins.
The mountains is obvious from the village Macheros. Head south from the village along a path that accesses some homes and gardens towards the mountain. Once you leave civilization, the trail splits. The trails form a loop, so either trail is fine. If you head right, keep your eye open for a mound in the forest to the right not that far from the summit. This is an Aztec pyramid. It hasn't been excavated, but has been grave-robbed. There are other ruins in the area.
There is a nice viewpoint just before the summit where you can see all the way to Nevado Toluca. We saw several birds here including hawks and eagles. After visiting the summit, a trail wraps around the south side of the mountain and joins your ascent trail not far from Macheros.
This is a short hike and climb and will only take a few hours.
There is no red tape here that concerns those climbing the mountain so please take care of the place.
November through March is the best time to climb. This is the dry season and since you will also want to visit the butterflies on Cerro Pelón, which are only present during this time of year.
You can camp at JM's Butterfly B&B, but most people just stay in the lodge.
Below are the weather averages for Toluca at 2660 meters/8730 feet. Temperatures on Cerro de la Silla will be similar, though it will probably a little wetter.
|Month||High (° F )||High (° C)||Low (° F )||Low (° C)||in. Rain||mm Rain||Rain Days|