El Pinal is located in the Chipinque Ecological Park only a few miles from the city of Monterrey, Mexico. It is relatively an easy climb (Class 1, grade 2) compared to the rest of the peaks you can climb within the park. It is also the only peak that does not require a park permit to climb.
To get to the Park, drive from the city through Gomez Morin going south towards the Sierra Madre mountain range. Gomez Morin practically takes you directly to the park.
Once you reach the park, you can start your venture by walking up the three trails that lead you up the mountain (Vereda 1, 2 & 3). Vereda 1 starts just a few meters from the park's main entrance.
If you begin at the bottom (Vereda 1), be prepared to walk up an additional 1.87 km to reach the starting point of the Empalme Trail. You can also drive up the main road to the Explanada rest area. The main trail in Chipinque that will take you to El Pinal starts off there @ 25°36.398'N, 100°21.219'W. There is a ample parking area here.
Once you reach the Explanada, walk east on the Empalme trail to the base of the Pinal. In total you will walk 3.6 km among a relatively flat trail. In this first stretch, the altitude varies only 60 mts (200 ft). At the 3.1 km mark there is a water fountain in case you need to refill or take a quick sip of water. This is also where you would take the trail to La Meseta del Epazote (see camping section below).
After you have completed the 3.6 kms you will reach "Puerta del Aire". Puerta del Aire stands at 1289 mts or 4,229 ft. In this area the trail divides into 2 alternatives. You can walk along the trail that zig zags up the Pinal to your right or take the shorter "Cabras" trail that goes straight up. The first alternative will take you up through the south face of the Pinal along a trail that is 2.4 kms long. Your second option takes you straight up and is only 780 mts long (2,559 ft). The picture on the left outlines both options.
While you will never have to resort to scrambling, the trail is at a consant angle.
El Pinal ends at 1,507 meters ad offers an incredible view of the city of Monterrey. There is a park ranger's look out post there and some picnic tables.
Red Tape & Park Fees
No special permits are requiered to climb El Pinal. The Chipinque Ecological Park requieres advance notice to climb to any other of the peaks in the park (La Eme, La Ventana, Las Antenas or Copete de las Aguilas). You will need to pay a fee to enter the park (varies if you walk or drive up).
Camping is allowed at the Meseta del Epazote (25° 35.718'N, 100° 20.363'W). To reach the Meseta, walk on the trail that heads south (take your right towards the Sierra Madre) at the water fountain (km 3.1 on the Empalme trail). You will need to fill out a camping request form and e-mail it / fax it to the Park's offices Monday through Thursday between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Check the External Link section below for more info.
For Camping and Permits:
GPS routes in Chipinque:
Do some geocaching while you are there!