Tijuca Forest History

The Tijuca Forest was reforested in the middle of the 19th Century after years of intense deforesting and planting (specially coffee plantations).

The replanting was a pioneer initiative in all Latin America.

The person responsible for the replanting, nominated by the Emperor D.Pedro II in 1861, was Major Gomes Archer , the first forest administrator who worked initially with 6 slaves and, later, with 22 paid workers, planting in 13 years 100 thousand seedlings. The replanting was made with species, in its great majority, natives of the Atlantic Forest Ecosystem.

The second administrator, Baron Gastão D’ Escragnole continued the replanting from 1874 to 1888. In addition to introducing more 30 thousand seedlings, transformed the forest in a leisure area, a park for public use, including exotic species, creating bridges, fountains, lakes and leisure areas with the orientation and help of the French landscaper Augusto Glaziou.

Still in the 19th Century , the painter Nicolas Antoine Taunay dweller and landowner of a farm in the forest, portrayed its natural beauties that represent today a historical memory of the City of Rio de Janeiro.

The painter received his friends and members of the imperial court in his house rendering the attractions of the forest known to Brazilians and foreigners that came to visit him.

In the 20 Century, Raimundo Ottoni de Castro Maya administrated the forest from 1943 to 1946. He made the park come to life again, which had been forgotten during the first years of the Republic.

In partnership with the architect Vladimir Alves de Souza and with the landscaper Roberto Burle Marx, Castro Maya recuperated the forest receiving 1 cruzeiro ( symbolic) as payment for its administration.

During the works of resurgence of the forest build in works of art, constructions and niches. Other services and public baths were installed in the park. Two restaurants were opened – Os Esquilos and Floresta (the Squirrels and Forest - using old farm coffee premises in one of them). Inaugurated the Brazilian Horse Society in the old house of Baron Bom Retiro.

Many farmers – like the Conde Gestas, Baron of Mesquita, Counselor Mayrink, Viscount of Asseca, in addition to the ones already mentioned before, the professionals as Job de Alcântara and Luiz Fernandes and the slaves Eleuthério, Pai Ricardo e Pai Antonio and other well known visitors, left their names in the history of the park in hills, roads, tracks, caves, niches, waterfalls etc.

The forest became then a privileged place where nature and culture entwine, harmonize and complement each other.

Look this theory about Pedra da Gavea
Jeeptour in Tijuca Forest


From all Rio de Janeiro, is possible to see the great urban Forest Of Tijuca. The forest is surrounded by 100% of Rio de Janeiro districts and, it’s not easy to the forest survive here, because the devastation is checked now by IBAMA ( Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente – Brazilian Institute of Environment ) . Talking about the overview, as possible to see from the Sector A , all the mountains of the others sectors, Sector B and C . Floresta da Tijuca has the second highest point of Rio de Janeiro – Pico da Tijuca , with 1021 mts. The highest point is Pedra Branca Massive – 1024 mts.

Getting There

Brazil has an expansive system of federal highways, designated by the letters ‘BR’, which account for 70% of the road network. Minor roads, provided and maintained by the state of Rio de Janeiro, are designated by the letters ‘RJ’. Road conditions are poor and lacking in signs. The national speed limit on highways is 110kph (68mph) but drivers seldom adhere to the rule. Accidents and road fatalities are distressingly common.

The minimum driving age is 18 years. Foreigners should carry an International Driving Permit as well as a driving licence from their country of origin and third-party liability insurance is required by law. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road and the rules are generally similar to those in the USA. By law, both driver and passenger must wear their seatbelts. The maximum legal alcohol to blood ratio is 0.06%
Routes to the city: The BR-116 from Porto Alegre passes through Curitiba, where it picks up traffic from Foz do Iguaçu and continues on through São Paulo, all the way to Rio de Janeiro. Coastal highway BR-101 runs from Natal, through Salvador to Rio de Janeiro and beyond. However, there is a faster inland route from Salvador on BR-116, which connects with the BR-040 from Brasilia at Belo Horizonte. The BR-116 and BR-040 lead into Rio along Avenida Brasil. The main highway continues along the coast before emerging from Túnel Novo at Copacabana. From here, the Avenida Atlântica runs alongside the beach to Ipanema and Leblon.
The meeting point for these hikes is at the Praça Afonso Vizeu (Afonso Vizeu Square), in Alto da Boa Vista. This is the square at the entrance of the park. The bus lines that will take you there are: 233, 234 (Rodoviária - Barra), 221 and 225 (Praça XV - Maracaí), all of which go through Praça Saens Pena in Tijuca, where there is an underground station. (It is also important to note that the underground in Rio does not work on Sundays!)

Red Tape

The Tijuca National Park take your Identification card number and your name to get the access to the trails. The National Park is open every day at 8:00am to 17:00pm. The access is free and has a good parking at Bom Retiro farm, the start point of Sector A mountain trails.

When To Climb

Every day is good to walk and to climb. At Summer season, the temperature exceeds 40°C, and turns very hot the trekking.


The camping inside the National Park is forbidden. There are some natural huts at the trails and no fees to use this natural huts.

Mountain Conditions

Rio de Janeiro current weather

Precipitation, sea level pressure and clouds cover


The Floresta da Tijuca (Tijuca's Rainforest) is the best place to do some hiking, the trails are countless and take us to very different places, there are short trails, long trails, easy trails, difficult trails ... ultimately, there is plenty for all tastes, but one thing is pretty constant: the beauty of the destinations, Cocanha, Bico do Papagaio (Parrot's Bill), Pico da Tijuca (Tijuca's Peak), Lagoa das Fadas (Fairies' Lake), Caverna dos Morcegos (Bats' Cave), Cachoeira do Taunay (Taunay´s Waterfall), etc ... Must to see !!

What to Take

Wear comfortable sneakers that you don't mind getting dirty, and cotton socks as opposed to wool socks (not very resistant).

You are advised to take water and some food (sandwiches, biscuits and fruit). Disposable soft drink bottles (PET) are excellent for taking water

A rain coat and sunscreen may be very useful. A torch is also a good item if you are going to the Tijuca’s summits.

Don't forget that what you take into the forest you must bring back. So a plastic bag for rubbish purposes is very handy

Tijuca Forest Main Summits

Pico da Tijuca – 1021 mts.
Bico do Papagaio – 990 mts.
Pedra da Gávea – 842 mts.
Corcovado – 704 mts.

Dois Irmãos – The best view of this mountain is from Ipanema Beach. It’s very dangerous climb this mountain, because the Favelas surrounded this mountain, and I advise to don’t climb it alone! But this is one of the most beautiful mountains of Rio de Janeiro.

Tijuca Mirim Peak – 917 mts.
Morro do Archer – 817 mts.
Pedra do Conde – 821 mts.

Pico da Tijuca

The second higher point in the city, with 1021m, can be reached by a trail which starts at the Bom Retiro. This hike is long but doesn't requires a great effort, except for the final stretch, which is made through a stair carved in the stone with an old and rusted chain guardrail. It seems that this structure was made for the king Alberto I, from Belgium, who was an alpinist and visited Rio in the begining of the century. It is said that this work was useless, because as a good mountaineer the king would have choosen to climb the rock ignoring the carved steps. This last stretch is specially harder in a sunny and hot day; in these cases is ery important to take a lot of water. The view from the summit is spectacular. If there is still some willingness it is worth a visit to the Tijuca Mirim, in front of the Pico da Tijuca.

START POINT : Praça Afonso Vizeu ( Afonso Vizeu Square ) at Alto da Boa Vista district.

Tijuca Mirim Peak

Tijuca Mirim – 917 mts

The Tijuca Mirim peak is located in front of the Pico da Tijuca , but at a lower altitude. Its summit is narrower than the one of Pico da Tijuca, being constituted by a large boulder covered with small bushes and low vegetation. From its peak, specially on the cliff at the NE portion, there is an excellent view of Pico da Tijuca ,Andaraí Maior and Pedra do Conde.

You can reach the summit using the trail to the Pico da Tijuca and following a small fork near the end of the trail. Another trail to this point starts at the Caveira, a plateau with the ruins of a house near the Caveira River, and climbs until you reach a fork which leads to the Andaraí Maior or to the Tijuca Mirim. From this point the trail becomes steeper requiring a little more physical fitness.
START POINT : Pico da Tijuca Trail.

Pedra do Conde

Pedra do Conde – 821 mts

The hike to the Pedra do Conde, that was once called Round Rock due to its shape, begins in the park, close to the Mayrink Chapel. Although the end of the trail is quite steep, the walk to the top is a light one with a privileged view of the Pico da Tijuca and the Tijuca Mirim.

Morro do Archer

Morro do Archer – 817 mts

The name of this place is given as a tribute to Major Manuel Gomes Archer - the first keeper of the forest - responsible, together with a group of slaves, for the reforestation of the area. The ruins of his home can be seen on an elevation in front of the "A Floresta" ("The Forest") restaurant, which was once the building used as the home of the slaves.
Starting at the Bom Retiro, the trail to the Archer Hill takes the hiker quite easily to the top. Although its peak isn't very pronounced, this hill offers unique views of Bico do Papagaio Peak and Pico da Tijuca. Normally this walk continue down a trail that leads to the Archer Caves following the steep rocky walls of the Archer Hill.

Bico do Papagaio

Bico do Papagaio – 990 mts

Once again, the hike starts at the Bom Retiro. The first stretch of this walk doesn't require any special skills or fitness even though the trail is cut by many landslides caused by the last summer rains. The second part of the trail is different, after passing the entrance to the Cocanha Peak. The trail becomes steep and demands some physical fitness and ability to manage the obstacles in the way. This effort is paid by the beautiful view from the summit, formed by great blocks of rock
An alternative way to reach this peak is the Serrilha Trail (also known as the Serrilha do João Antônio). This is a rougher trail offering a beautiful view almost all of the way. To reach the summit of the Bico do Papagaio going this way, the hiker will have to face a passage formed by a horizontal crack in the rock wall only 1.4 m deep and 80 cm high called Hell's Passage. This part of the trail is not very fit for people with back pains.

Dois Irmãos Peak.

This peak is outside Tijuca Forest, because the city surrounded the mountain with build and houses. From there, the view is spetacular but, it’s very dangerous place, because Favela da Rocinha and Favela do Vidigal is in the base of the peak.

Pedra Bonita and Agulhinha da Gávea

Another two beautiful mountains that the hanggliders and paragliders jump to the spetacular flight above Rio's South Zone. Pedra Bonita as possible to get the summit from the entrance on the Canoas Road, and the track to the Agulhinha starts in the same place but, in the opposite direction. Agulhinha summit has a wind sleeve for the hanggliders information about the wind directions for a good flight. Pedra Bonita is the best mirador of Pedra da Gávea. The difficult is easy to Bonita and medium to Agulhinha. Both mountains is in Sector C.
Hang glinding in Rio
Fly over Rio
Hang Glinding in Rio de Janeiro

Pedra da Gávea

Pedra da Gavea was named in 1502 by the same Portuguese sailors who entered Guanabara Bay in January 1st 1502. They believed the bay to be the mouth of a large river and named the place Rio de Janeiro - literally January River. The rocky flat top of the mountain looked like a "gavea", or topsail, where there would always be a sailor watching out towards the horizon. The trails date back from the early 1800s and were opened by the local farm owners. The mountain is part of Tijuca National Park and its trails have never before been so well kept and signed - thanks to the Park's present administration.

Visiting Rio

Rio de Janeiro is a good city to visit. The city live together with problems that all big city has, how violence, transit upset, poverty and more. But you will remember forever about here. It's a pleasure to guest you in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil !

Tijuca Forest Mountains

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