Cerro Huilapitzo is located in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala. It lies very close to the border with Puebla. To reach the summit you could approach from either side but access is easier from the Tlaxcala side. With 3500m it is the second highest point in Tlaxcala, together with Cerro El Huilotepec, after volcan La Malinche. It’s a peak that is not often climbed although it is fairly easy to summit. The hike from the nearest village and back does make it into a full day hike through a beautiful pine forest. From Tecomalucan the summit is about four to four and a half hours walking, from where you’ll be rewarded with nice views of nearby peaks such as Pico de Orizaba, Peñón del Rosario, La Malinche, Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, on clear days of course that is.
From Tecomalucan. El Huilapitzo, further right Cerro de la Calavera. Far right Peña Tlaxicho.
Huilapitzo is the Nahuátl name for the peak, and it doesn’t seem to have been given a name in Spanish. As Nahuátl isn’t spoken any more in this part of the country, nobody seems to know what it actually means. Also, all locals I’ve spoken to call it ‘Cerro Huilacapitzo’, although INEGI omits the c and a in the middle to simply call it ‘Cerro Huilapitzo’.
From the trailhead in Tecomalucan (see below) you have a good view of the range Cerro Huilapitzo is part of. Huilapitza peak being clearly the highest peak, you have ‘Cerro de la Calavera’ to its right, and then ‘Peña Tlaxicho’ further right (see the photo above). This Peña Tlaxicho is a big rock clearly noticeable from afar. A big white cross has been put on its summit, although I have no information on how to climb it. The peak to the right of the Peña is called ‘Cerro Negro’, the smaller one below it ‘Cerro Blanco'.
View from the trail.
International visitors will probably arrive in Mexico City first. To reach Cerro Huilapitzo by public transportation go to the eastbound bus station called CAPU (metro ...). From here it is two hours by bus to Apizaco from where you can take a bus heading for the town of Tlaxco (45min north) from the Atah bus terminal. You could go all the way to Tlaxco, and get a ‘collectivo’ (local minibus) there to the town of Atotonilco. However, a faster way to get there is to get off at the crossroad where the road turns right of the main highway and goes to Atotonilco. Collectivo’s pass by regularly. You’ll drive past the communities of Xalostoc, Emiliano Zapata and finally Tecomalucan before you reach Atotonilco. Get off at Tecomalucan.
View from the summit with the town of Atotonilco to the right.
From here you have a clear view of the mountain range ahead of you. In front of you Huilapitzo peak, and to your right a big rock called Peña Tlaxicho. If you take the road where you got of the bus heading towards the peaks it will take you all the way to the base of Peña Tlaxicho where it splits in two. At its base, you are at the saddle. The road continues straight on to a ‘Rancho’ or farm in the woods. Go left and it will take you to the village behind the mountains, in Puebla, called Atexquilla. So the Cerro Huilapitzo can be approached from Atexquilla, and I believe it would take you just as long as the approach from Tecomalucan.
Peña Tlaxicho seen from the Atexquilla side.
Getting to the summit
Following the road from Tecomalucan to the foot of Peña Tlaxicho should take two and a half to three hours. It is best to stay on the main trail, I haven’t seen many option for shortcuts. After about two to two and a half hours you’ll see a water source or spring surrounded by a fence on your left hand side. From here, you are close to the foot of Peña Tlaxicho. A road from Atexquilla also comes this way, so the approach can be done from both sides, or you can approach from Tecomalucan and descent on the Atexquilla side
Turn left here to get to the summit.
Where the road splits up, turn left, you’ll see the Peña on your right hand side. Continue for some two hundred meters where the road splits up again. Take the trail on your left. The trail on your going straight ahead goes to the village of Atexquilla. The trail on your left is a bit steeper than the approaching trail, although you should reach the summit from this point in forty five minutes to an hour.
Take the trail going left to get to the summit. The trail going straight on goes to Atexquilla.
After about twenty minutes there is a clear trail going right from the main trail. Go up here, and after some forty meters a small but visible trail goes straight to the summit. Higher up this trail becomes really faint, but as you keep going up, you’ll soon catch sight of the summit. It a rocky cap just above the tree line. There is some easy rockclimbing to do for a couple of meters just below the top which shouldn’t cause any difficulties to anyone. A wooden pole indicates the summit which is overgrown with small bushes, full of lady bugs when we got there.
Red tape and camping, when to go
There is no red tape. Although I haven't seen any specific camping spot, you could pitch your tent anywhere in the forest I suppose. If you approach El Huilapitzo from Atexquilla you could stay in one of the three cabins that have been built in the forest near the trail. The dirt road has been improved so that visitors can drive their car up to the cabins. To rent one of them, ask in Atexquilla for information.
Cerro El Huilapitzo can be climbed any time of the year. The past couple of years it hasn't had as much snow on its top as it used to. So the worst that could happen is rain, more likely during the rainy season roughly July to November.
Cabin in the forest you can rent, on the Atexquilla side.
Other things to do while in the area
The nearest nice climb is El Peñón del Rosario
at 3420m. You'll find the trailhead in the village of El Penón de Acopinalco, about 8km west from the town of Tlaxco.
A short walk east of Tlaxco there a small but beautiful slot canyon
in an area locally known as 'los laberintos'.
The tallest peak in Tlaxcala, La Malinche
, is often climbed to acclimatise for Pico de Orizaba. It is about 45 min from Apizaco.
Close to La Malinche lies volcano Cuatlapanga
(2900m) which can be climbed in half a day from Apizaco.