Looking for a real jungle experience? Hike up to Pedra do Conde, one of many mountain peaks in the Tijuca National Park. This beautiful trail is located in the middle of the Tijuca forest – the world’s biggest urban rainforest. Pedra do Conde, or Count’s Rock in English, is named in honor of Aymar Marie Jacques Gestas, a farmer of the early 19th century. Explore Pedra da Conde in a two hours hike inside the great urban forest. The hike is easy to medium, well marked and Pedra do Conde gives you an excellent view of the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Duration: 60 minutes one way
Distance: 1990 m
Height: 821 m
When to hike: All year, except if it has been raining the previous days
What to bring: Hiking boots/Trainers, comfortable clothing, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, some snack and water
How to get to Pedra do Conde
The Pedra do Conde hike starts nearby the Centro de Visitantes -the visitor center, inside of Tijuca National Park. The best way to get there is by taxi or car. If you go by car, use GPS and type in “Bom Retiro”. This is a location inside of the park. When you get to Tijuca National Park, just follow the road (and your GPS), after 5-10 minutes of driving, you will see Centro de Visitantes coming up on your right hand side. Most likely there’ll be some cars parked here already. A good idea before you start your hike is to visit the Centro de Visitantes, to get a map of the hike and learn more about other hikes in the park. They also have restrooms.
See map below for further information:
The best reference for the starting point of the Pedra do Conde Hike is the Capela Mayrink. When you get to the Centro de Visitantes, you will see a sign saying Capela Mayrink, follow this trail for about 5-10 minutes until you get to a parking lot. Here you will see a playground by the stairs of Capela Mayrink and another sign with a map of the trail. The trail starts near the grills, close to the forest.
After about 5-10 minutes of easy hiking, you will get to a junction where you need to turn left. It’s well marked, so it’s easy to see where to go.
From here, the trail starts going straight up for 10 minutes until you get to another sign indicated by a sign saying Pedra do Conde – just follow the trail.
At certain points of the trail you will be able to see a sort of vegetation adapted to the poor soil that is composed of small quartzite stones, a type of rock which appears only in some parts of Rio de Janeiro. Since you are walking inside of the rainforest, there’s also a big chance that you’ll see some animal wildlife here as well, mostly monkeys and different species of birds.
Keep hiking for another 15-20 minutes on the trail and you will get to another junction where you need to turn right, again the directions are well marked.
Continue on the trail for another 10-15 minutes and you will get to the last junction where you need to turn left. From here the track starts going up quite a lot on a rugged trail and you need to do some easy climbing in some parts.
After some climbing and 10 minutes of hiking you will reach the beautiful top of Pedra da Conde. Now that you have finished the hike, enjoy the marvelous view coming up. Observe the impressive urban rainforest and you will see how it justo rolls into the city of Rio de Janeiro.
From the top you will be able to spot the northern slope of the Serra da Carioca, and other big peaks as Pedra Bonita, Pedra da Gávea, Pico do Grajaú, Andaraí Maior, Pico da Tijuca, Tijuca Mirim and other big mountains.