Half-day Hike to Pico Loro

in Daytrips/Hiking/Nature/Parks & Sightseeing/Sport & Recreation/Things to do

One of Cali’s most iconic mountain peaks can be hiked in less than half a day, so what’s your excuse?! Pico Loro (or Parrot Peak) is part of Parque National Natural Farallones de Cali and can be easily spotted to the south of Cali due to its steep pinnacle and proximity to the city. On the trail you’ll likely see tropical birds, humming birds, many types of butterflies, and if you’re lucky deer, sloths and other wildlife.

The trail to the summit which is protected by the National Natural Parks Service, is safe and well marked. However, there is a limit of 30 hikers per day, so if you plan to hike on Saturday or Sunday you should get to the trailhead by 5am at the latest. If you hike on a weekday, you’ll have the trail mostly to yourself. Depending on your shape, it’s about 3 to 4 hours to reach the top where you’ll have great views of the city and surrounding mountains. I consider the technical difficulty to be moderate. If you’re got osteoporosis and are not willing to climb the equivalent of a hundred flights of stairs, then this is not a place for you.

Here is what you need to know

The trail head is easily accessed by car or bus. By car you’ll want to head towards Pueblo Pance and make the turnoff in the village San Francisco towards the GPS point below; the drive from Cali is about 1 hour and there’s plenty of parking on site.

With public transportation it’ll take longer but it’s easy. Take the Mio bus to the southernmost station (Universidades). Ask where to catch the buses, sometimes called Recreativos, towards Pueblo Pance (note that Pance can refer to La Voragine, so specify Pueblo Pance, which is the village further up stream). Get off the bus in San Francisco, just before Pueblo Pance and ask a local about the trail (camino a Pico de Loro).

Entrance to the parking lot and the beginning of the trail.
Entrance to the parking lot and the beginning of the trail.

The trailhead is located here.

The trail is marked using ribbons and there is a running water supply (which I drank from unfiltered) halfway up the trail, but I’d bring a couple of liters of water and some snacks just to be safe.

The summit is located here.

Should you wish to camp there are flat areas at the top where you can pitch a tent for free.

Enjoy! If I forgot something or if you have any comments please let me know 🙂

A native of Minnesota and resident of San Francisco, California, this curious bloke ended up in Colombia for the investment opportunities and guaranteed adventure. Ryan previously worked at a Fortune 500 firm as a Financial Analyst but quickly realized that the 11 days of vacation he was given would never satisfy his need to explore the world.

Ryan prefers to stay off the tourist track and find authentic experiences wherever he goes. He enjoys running, finding deals and spending time away from his computer and phone.

5 Comments

  1. Hi,
    A few comments on the hike:
    1/ It’s gorgeous, I definitely recommand it.
    2/ To find the start of the trail, you have to get off the recreativo at the entrance of Pueblo Pance, where there is a roadsign saying “Quebrada de los Indios” (San Francisco is a few kilometers before Pueblo Pance, don’t stop there). At this point, there is a crossroad: on the right is Pueblo Pance, on the left, there is a dirt road that leads to the entrance of the park (I can send you a picture if you want).
    3/ I would not recommend going without a guide unless you are an experienced hiker. I went by myself, and although I am very experienced, I ended up on the wrong trail going to the top, it was rather dangerous and this trail was also marked.
    4/ On the way up, before reaching the abandoned cabaña, you can see a waterfall on the left. It’s just a few minutes off the trail and very easy to reach. Look for a small trail behind the barb wire. After going to the top, it’s definitely a nice stop to dip in, although the water is rather cold.

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