Nevado de Colima (Zapotepetl)

Nevado de Colima (Zapotepetl)

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 19.56100°N / 103.609°W
Additional Information Elevation: 14240 ft / 4340 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Nevado de Colima is the 7th highest peak in Mexico, located in the state of Jalisco, near the border with the state of Colima. It is a long dormant volcano, but attached to its west side (on the other side of a saddle) is a newer, active volcano, Volcan de Fuego, the most active volcano in Mexico (even more active than Popo as this is written). The locals in this part of the country don't see too many gringos, but they treat them well when they do. Nevado de Colima is in a Parque Nacional, but the national park system is much different in Mexico. Grazing is allowed, you may see cattle as high on the peak as 13,000'+, and logging is allowed, although there is a push to discontinue it. If you go to climb this peak, spend some time in the City of Colima, you'll be glad you did, as they have some wonderful (inexpensive) restaurants.

Getting There

The mountain is rarely climbed from the base as there is a good dirt road that accesses the Proteción Civil facility at about 12,000'. Tourists are not allowed to drive past the locked gate at about the 11,500' level. We went around the gate, and were intercepted by an ATV and asked to turn around. This access road is easy to find from Ciudad Guzman, just follow the signs to the Parque Nacional. If you fly commercially, you will likely fly into Manzanillo, on the coast. Car rentals are available there, about an hour and a half drive away. There is also limited commercial service to Colima, the capitol of the State of Colima, and this is highly recommended, as Colima is a fantastic city. Car rentals are also available here, I recommend Enterprise as they treated us very well. From Colima, either take the Cuota (toll road) which is kind of expensive but much faster, or the Libre, a free road which winds around and climbs in and out of many steep-walled canyons, and head toward Ciudad Guzman.

Red Tape

Located in a national park, there are now (as of December 2002) entrance fees, and camping fees. The fees are minimal, I think we paid a US $2.50 camping fee for one night, and a US $2 entrance for a truck with 2 persons. You will be well served to have change, as invariably the fellow at the gate will not. Respect the private property around the base of the mountain, and the locked gates, and all will be well.

When To Climb

The only time you will really want to avoid climbing here is during the monsoon, the period when the area receives the majority of its precipitation. The monsoon generally starts in late April or early May and runs for 2-3 months. Directly after the monsoon is when the snowpack is at its greatest depth. Late in the season, March through early April, there will be very little snow.


There is a fine camping area with a spring at the 11,550' level. The spring is in the bottom of the canyon just north of the camping area, and is surrounded by mortared local stone, making a pool. When following the access road up, after passing through the park entrance, drive a few more miles and you will find a large clearing surrounded by fences. There is ample space here for free primitive camping. There are no facilities, maybe the occasional fire ring, but that's it. You will not likely see many campers, but maybe a few dayhikers going for the summit, as this is also the staging area.

Mountain Conditions

You may inquire about mountain conditions as well as volcanic activity by calling Proteción Civil in Colima, (01 for long distance), (331) 45944. (Yes, they generally speak Spanish exclusively)

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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tealeaves101 - Dec 5, 2005 9:15 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

We were there in Jan 2005 and the Jalisco Proteción was not allowing anyone to climb Colima due to the volcanic activity of its sister. We hired a "guide".


bearbnz - Dec 6, 2005 6:01 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

So the guide was able to access the peak despite the activity on Volan de Colima? Nice photo btw. The volcano was pretty active last I was there, but not like that!


Baarb - Jun 11, 2006 9:08 pm - Voted 6/10


Yeah, you're not officially allowed to climb it. Period. Thus if you do try, and get hurt, they won't be able to save you. Watch out for cows too. Vicious things.

Tannermae - Sep 23, 2014 3:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Road conditions

Can anyone tell me what the road is like to La Joya. I only have a 2 wheel drive car.

sprintervandiaries - Oct 21, 2014 7:22 pm - Hasn't voted


The dirt road up the mountain is easily doable with 2-wheel drive. We went up Nevado de Colima last month. There is a 9km round-trip trail that is fairly easy to follow, once you find the trailhead near La Joya. The trail goes through pine forest and then ascends over ash / sand to the saddle between the peak and the antennas. Coordinates for the trailhead are: N19° 34.990′ W103° 36.073′ Alternatively, many people seem to drive towards the antennas (currently you're not allowed to drive all the way there), walk the rest of the dirt road to the antennas, and follow a fairly easy path to the top. More detail on the longer route can be found on our website:


Scott - Aug 28, 2015 4:48 pm - Hasn't voted

Current status

Does anyone know the current status of the mountain, i.e., is climbing allowed?


bodofzt - Dec 1, 2016 10:08 am - Voted 7/10

Page needs major updates

I climbed Nevado de Colima just yesterday. A lot has changed in the last decade; I'll try to synthesize: * The mountain is significantly lower than stated here. The official (INEGI) altitude is 4240 m/13910 ft. Peakbagger lists it at 4260 m with a +20 m margin of error (13976+66). My personal GPS measurement was 4281 m/14045 ft. Even the former highest estimate was lower (4330 m/14206 ft). * The park entrance fee is 31 MXP, currently 1.50 USD. * There's a service road for a volcano observatory which lies at around 4000 m. Its parking lot is also accessible for tourists, from where you can start a rather short hike/scramble to the summit. * There are huts close to La Joya, the camping area at the park entrance.


Quicks - Dec 23, 2016 1:15 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Page needs major updates

Were you allowed to reach summit? Because ive read in a couple of sites, that the nevado is currently closed. Is a guide necessary to climb it? And do you need any tecnical equipment? Such as crampons, rope ice axe, harness? Howndifficult is it?


bodofzt - Feb 19, 2017 1:36 pm - Voted 7/10

Re: Page needs major updates

Sorry, I hadn't seen this reply. Yeah, I reached the summit — see my post in the climber's log. I'd say it's an easy walk inside the forest, but the alpine tundra part is more difficult than la Malinche or Nevado de Toluca despite being considerably lower. There is no way around the extensive "arenal", plus there are also some minor climbs and the trail mostly disappears above 4000 m a.s.l. The park is often closed whenever it snowed recently. When I went there, it had just opened again after having been closed for two weeks. I didn't need any technical equipment, but this is VERY advisable in most scenarios. I was lucky.

mtn_nut - Dec 10, 2018 3:09 pm - Hasn't voted

climbed on 12/10/18

The entry fee was $34 MXN at the gate (current exchange rate is about 20 MXN = $1 USD). Based on the trail register that was at the summit cross, there are more than one thousand people that climbed the mountain this year. I spent the night near 13k on the saddle between the antenna tower buildings and the summit. There are some painted rocks indicating the route where you have to start scrambling up, so routefinding wasn't much of an issue. Saw about 30 people on Friday, and another 30 people on Saturday, and it seemed like a popular place to go hike on the weekend. The road is in decent shape, and my rental 2WD VW Tiguan made it just fine with careful driving, and I saw a minivan near the top of the road, although I wouldn't personally drive anything with less clearance than the Tiguan if I drove the road again (~7.5").

Viewing: 1-10 of 10



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