Phytogeographic province of Espinhaço Mountains in Bahia and Minas Gerais states, between latitudes 10°-20°35'S
and longitudes 40°10'-44°30'W
Especially 1000 - 2107m
Serra do Espinhaço - Brazil
- Source : http://www.nmnh.si.edu
OverviewSerra do Espinhaço
(Espinhaço Range) forms the watershed between the Atlantic Ocean and the basin of the São Francisco River in eastern
Brazil. From 50 km
km wide, it is formed of numerous low mountains or "serras" (900-1500m
high, peaking at over 2000m
), interrupted by river valleys that can be extensive and deep. The region naturally falls into a number of mountainous areas which represent local centres of biodiversity. The Southern limit
) is in the central State of Minas Gerais
south-east of Belo Horizonte in the Serra do Ouro Branco
; six other important centres in this state are Serra da Piedade, Serra do Caraça, Serra do Cipó, Chapada Diamantina, Serra do Cabral
and Serra do Grão-Mogol
. In the State of Bahia
1100 km to the north (inland from Salvador), the Chapada Diamantina
is an extensive elevated area which includes a number of important centres, such as in the west the Serra do Rio de Contas, Pico das Almas and Pico de Itabira
and in the east the Serra do Sincorá
. Farther north the Chapada dies away (at 10°S
) in a number of isolated and scattered massifs, such as Morro do Chapéu
(Serra do Tombador) and Serra da Jacobina
The Espinhaço Range was formed intermittently in segments from the Palaeozoic
onwards. The highest peaks (1800-2107m
) are remnants of older surfaces that have been worn down.
Highest Peaks of Espinhaço
| Serra do Espinhaço main summits || Altitude |
| Pico do Barbado || 2107m |
| Pico do Inficcionado || 2075m |
| Pico do Sol || 2070m |
| Pico do Itambé || 2002m |
| Gigante do Caraça || 2000m |
| Pico da Carapuça || 1912m |
| Pico da Canjerana || 1890m |
| Pico das Almas || 1850m |
| Pico do Itacolomy || 1845m |
| Pico da Verruguinha || 1650m |
| Morro do Pai Inácio || 1420m |
Serra do Espinhaço has two national parks. Chapada Diamantina National Park
(Bahia), created in 1985, comprises 1520 km²
already delimited; it is still in the initial phase of organization. Serra do Cipó NP
(338 km²) (Santana do Riacho and Jaboticatubas, in Minas Gerais) was created in 1984, and is delimited and in operation; it is surrounded by a buffer zone with 30 km wide. However, the park's infrastructure is not yet sufficient for effective protection.
Other variously conserved areas include Gruta dos Brehões APA
(Environmental Protection Zone), 119 km² in Bahia; and in Minas Gerais, Cavernas do Peruaçu APA
, 1500 km² (Januária and Itacarambi); Cachoeira Andorinhas APA
, 187 km²; Rio Doce State Park
, 360 km²; Itacolomi State Park
, 70 km² (Mariana and Ouro Preto); and Tripuí Ecological Station
, 7 km² (Ouro Preto)
All National Parks and APAs ( Environmental Protection Areas ) have a lot of good areas to camp.
Getting There - Serra do Cipo / Chapada DiamantinaSerra do Cipó
is located within the region known as the “Cordilheira do Espinhaço” (Thorn Mountains), close to the city of Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais state. This is a region that has many natural wonders. Among them, many waterfalls, tall mountains, exceedingly rich forests and the always warm hospitality of the people of Minas Gerais..
The “Serra do Cipó” region is located 62
miles (100 Km) from the city of Belo Horizonte
miles (532 Km) from Rio de Janeiro
miles (684 Km) from São Paulo
and 510 miles
(814 Km) from Brasília
. Asphalt roads takes the backpacker to this paradises at Serra do Cipo .
Between Belo Horizonte and the park there are two highway patrol stations, but road blocks for vehicle inspections are rare. Travelers arriving by plane should fly to Belo Horizonte. From there, rent a car, hitch a hike (at your own risk), or hop on a bus. Saritur (0xx31 3201 6064) and Seno (0xx31 3201 9662) are the bus operators that serve this region, with buses departing from “Rodoviária da Capital” (Belo Horizonte bus terminal).
Chapada Diamantina NP
Chapada Diamantina is the main range in the state of Bahia and, the best way to getting there is : Departures from Salvador ( Capital of Bahia ) , Take the road BR-242
from Salvador to Lençóis, the entrance of Chapada Diamantina NP.
Serra do Caraça
Situated at Catas Altas county, this is one of the highest ranges in Serra do Espinhaço.
Caraça’s main peaks
Pico Alto do Inficcionado
(High Inficcionado Peak) - it has 2075m
of altitude, it is the second highest peak of Serra do Espinhaço . There you find Gruta do Centenário (Centennial Cave). The trail is considered tough: it's 8 km starting from the Caraça School, which corresponds to six hours of difficult walk. In 1922, the priests of the Caraça School discovered on the Peak, close to the summit, the Centennial Cave. With almost 3,8 thousand meters of extension and 450 meters of depth
, it is one of the deepest caves in quartzito of the world.
Pico do Sol
(Peak of the Sun) - summit of the preservation area and of the Backbone Mountains: it's 2075m
of altitude. It is about 15 km far from the School and the access presents high degree of difficulty. There is a natural swimming pools there, where it is allowed to swim.
Gigante do Caraça
(Caraça's Giant) - with approximately 2000m
of height, it is 12 km from the Caraça’s School. It is the place where is drawn in the mountain a form, similar to a big face (Caraça), origin of the name of the park. The access is difficult and steep.
Pico da Carapuça
(Pick of the Hood) - also in the high of Caraça Mountains, from where one can have a beautiful view of the park. It's 1912m
of altitude, 5 km or three hours of walk from the School. On the road to the peak, one can visit Lourdes and Chapel caves.
Pico da Canjerana
(Canjerana Peak) - it is 10 km from the School or five hours of walk. To go to the place it is necessary guide's attendance, because the trails are not signaled. Its higher point has 1890m
Pico da Verruguinha
(Peak of the Wart) - it has 1650m
of altitude and it is 7 km from the School. The walk is quite difficult, being necessary guide attendance.
The best months for walkings are between May and September.
All trailheads start at Caraça’s School Square
, in Catas Altas county.
WeatherCatas Altas Weather
Ouro Preto Weather
LinksOuro Preto - Encyclopaedia Britannica
Serra do Espinhaço - Encyclopaedia Britannica
Geology, Geomorphology, and Drainage - Serra do Espinhaço