Nevado de Toluca (Xinantecatl)

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Mountain/Rock
Location:
Mexico, Mexico, North America
Elevation:
15390 ft / 4691 m
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Nevado de Toluca (Xinantecatl)
Created On: Jan 15, 2002
Last Edited On: Dec 6, 2008

Overview

At 4,691 m (15,390 ft), Nevado de Toluca is Mexico's fourth highest mountain and offers some of the best moderate alpine climbing in Mexico. The Complete Rim Traverse (PD+ or AD-) is an outstanding alpine-style ridge climb which rivals similar routes in the alps. However, since the mountain lies to the west of Mexico City, in the opposite direction from the other high volcanoes, it is neglected by many climbers who visit Mexico.

In addition to the solitude of its ridges, the mountain provides a stunning setting for climbing, since its crater contains two large lakes (Laguna de la Luna and Laguna del Sol). These lakes are extremely cold, yet according to Secor, scuba diving is still practiced by some very brave divers. There are some nice hiking options around these lakes which may appeal to non-climbers.

Access to the volcano is easy, since a rough road (passable by 2-wheel drive cars) leads all the way into the crater. There are a number of lodging options along this road, including a state-run hut at 4,050 m (excellent for acclimatizing). A trail leads from this hut directly into the crater in about 1-2 miles.

The western-most portion of the crater rim is a 3-4 mile jagged ridge in which a number of rocky peaks are encountered. The highest peaks are known as Pico de Fraile (4,691 m; 15,390 ft) and Pico de Aguila (4,620 m; 15,157 ft). Pico de Fraile lies approximately 500 m above the crater floor and can be approached from either direction along the crater rim, or by a trail which ascends from outside of the crater (the easiest route, see topo map caption). The approach via the crater rim from the south involves some 4th and potentially 5th class climbing and in my opinion is a true classic.

Getting There

By Car from Mexico City (from Secor):

Follow Highway 15 west from Mexico City towards the city of Toluca. Before the city, take a bypass (Paseo Tollocan) which leads south around the city. At the southern edge of Toluca, turn left on Highway 134 and be aware that the road turns right in 1.2 mi (2 km). Continue on Highway 134 for 11.2 mi (18 km) to reach Highway 3, which branches off to the left toward Sultepec. There is also a sign here which indicates the Park and Volcan de Nevado de Toluca. Follow Highway 3 for 5 mi (8 km) to the gravel road which leads up to the peak (also signposted for the park and the volcano). The gravel road winds around the mountain for 15 mi (22 km) to reach the crater. A number of lodging sites are passed along the way.

By Bus from Mexico City:

Flecha Roja (Red Arrow) offers shockingly frequent bus service to Toluca from Mexico City's Observatorio bus station. The trip takes a little over one hour and costs around $4. Taxis can then be taken from the station to any of several hotels in the center of town. Hotel Rex and Hotel San Francisco are both around $20/night and are close to restaurants and stores for purchasing supplies. A taxi can be hired in town to take you all the way to the crater (or to the hut at 4,050 m) for around $20. Make sure the driver understands that you need to go almost completely to the end of the gravel road. You can arrange for the driver to pick you up again after your climb. It is also possible to travel by bus all the way to the aforementioned gravel road (take a bus from Toluca towards Sultepec and get off at Raices). The problem then, however, is to get to the crater which will require some hitch-hiking.

Red Tape

A small fee ($.50) is required to enter the Park and can be payed at Los Venados where the family lodge is located. On weekends, the park receives far more visitors than it can handle and the road becomes jammed with cars facing in all directions. Go late in the evening to one of the lodges to avoid the traffic and be ready to sit for a long time when trying to leave after your climb.

When To Climb

The mountain can be climbed year-round, but like the other volcanos, is best climbed during Mexico's dry season (November - March). Since most routes are along the peak's rocky ridges, the difficulty can vary greatly depending on whether snow is present.

In addition, strong winds are quite common on the mountain during the night, but usually subside by 7AM. Thus, while an early start is recommended, it is probably best to wait until 6 or 7AM to leave the hut.

Camping

There are essentially three options for camping/lodging on the mountain:

1) Family Lodge at Los Venados -- This lodge is about 3 km up the gravel road and offers 14 rooms for $3-4. It is open on weekends only and no reservation is necessary. The entrance fee is payed here and camping is also permitted. I believe bottled water is available but I am not certain.

2) Albergue Alpino -- Another lodge 2 km further up the gravel road with 64 beds for $2-3. Bring sleeping bags and food. Also only open on weekends. Camping is permitted but there is often no guard.

From Scott Patterson: In 1992-1993, the cost of the Albergue posted on the wall was actually $12 a night, and this was the official rate for a bunk. Camping was free. During the Christmas/year end holidays the Albergue was open every day, but I'm not sure of the rest of the year.

3) National Park Hut at the Crater Gate (4,050 m) -- This primitive hut is located about 15 km up the gravel road (6 km from the crater) and has room for about 7 guests. The cost is $1.50 and there is no reservation system. On weekends, snacks, tacos, soda, and bottled water can be purchased from local vendors. The park guards occupy an adjacent building and were willing to watch our equipment while we climbed.

Mountain Conditions

The website www.xpmexico.com has excellent information on many aspects of the mountain including route descriptions, photos, and lodging.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-11 of 11

Tom Fralich

Tom Fralich - Oct 10, 2002 12:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Thanks,



I added the numbers to the stats section at the top of the page.

Eric DeGiuli - Aug 19, 2003 12:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

In August 2003 we camped on the side of the lagoon without a permit (didn't know we had to get one), and no one came around to bug us. There are several sites where rocks have been formed in box or U shapes, great for shelter from the wind.



Watch out for the cows which wander around!

Dalesmicro - Oct 31, 2005 12:20 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

I believe the correct coordinates for the Nevado are:

19 degrees 6 minutes 51 seconds N

99 degrees 46 minutes 4 seconds W



If you use these on Google Earth you can see the lagunas of the Sun and Moon.



I hope that this information is useful



Dale

big_g

big_g - Jan 7, 2006 2:39 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

The 2006 price for a stay in the refugio / park hut at 4,050 is 65 pesos or about $6 USD.



It is basic but fairly nice. There are 3 rooms of 4 bunks with mattresses. And there is a 4 burner propane stove.

big_g

big_g - Jan 18, 2006 2:10 am - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Hitchhiking up the road to the refuge seems easy. I had no problem doing so midweek (Jan 2006).



Also you are not charged any entrance fee if you walk through the park gate by the first "campamiento".

Curtissimo

Curtissimo - Aug 22, 2014 12:52 am - Voted 10/10

you can no longer drive into the crater

In August of 2014, the road into the crater is now closed at the last building site where there are located some bathrooms on a hill and some few other simple maintenance buildings and a vending station.

You must now hike about a km or so from this spot up to the Crater rim. Then a brief straight and steep 100 m or so leads down into the crater. To climb the peak you then need to cross the crater and ascend the ridge from the other side. This probably adds perhaps 2-3 r/t kms and some 250 meters of cumulative gain to the climb.

The old road continues on from this closure for foot or bicycle traffic, but it seems much too long to merit travelling that way on foot for a climb.

The price to enter the park was 20 pesos per car. The main hut down below at the entry area is in quite sorry shape and seems almost abandoned. We were charged $100 pesos per person (didn't charge kids under 12) and were supplied with blankets to supplement our sleeping bags. Scare and sorry mattresses, no electricity, and they didn't even start a fire as promised. Cold water only in dark bathrooms. Bring a headlamp. Camping was also abundant and available but we didn't want the hassle. There are 4-5 comedores there below the hut and the food was rustic but very hearty and good. Reasonable prices (15 pesos per big filled quesadillas and tlacoyos, 40 pesos for sopa azeteca, good cafe de olla for 10 pesos, same price for bottled pop).

Quicks

Quicks - Dec 30, 2016 7:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Question

Is a guide needed to hike up to summit of nevado de toluca?

Quicks

Quicks - Dec 30, 2016 7:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Question

Is a guide needed to hike up to summit of nevado de toluca?

MishaCZ

MishaCZ - Aug 7, 2017 12:25 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Question

No, not required. You can use a local company for logistics and to watch your gear like we did. I highly recommend Nomada, they were cheap and very very good (nomadatravelmexico at gmail).

MishaCZ

MishaCZ - Aug 7, 2017 12:23 pm - Hasn't voted

Update/tip

I just climbed Nevado and Izta, camped at both - really easy and inexpensive, 3-season tent was just fine. Used a local company for all logistics and watching our tents while climbing - very reliable and reasonable price (easier than buses) - highly recommend them! (NomadaTravelMexico at gmail). The rim traverse on Nevado is the way to go!

VWLover

VWLover - Aug 28, 2017 2:13 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Update/tip

Quick question--do you know if Nomada operates in other parts of Mexico? Looking for a ride from Ciudad Serdan to hut on the south side of Orizaba.

Viewing: 1-11 of 11








Nevado de Toluca (Xinantecatl)

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