Hike up to Tijuca Forest’s highest peak, the Pico da Tijuca (1021m), to get a real jungle feeling. This beautiful trail is located in the middle of the Tijuca forest, the world’s biggest urban rainforest. The hike is easy, well marked and Pico da Tijuca is considered to be one of the best hikes to do in Rio de Janeiro.
|Duration: 1.5-2 hours up and down
Height: 1021 m
Length: 2800 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 Pico da Tijuca
The Pico da Tijuca hike starts from an idyllic location called Bom Retiro inside of the 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” or “Pico da Tijuca”. There’s a big parking and even a basic restroom. See map below for further information.
When you get to the parking lot of Bom Retiro, you will easily see the starting point of the Pico da Tijuca hike marked by a sign with a map of the track. The trail itself is about 2.800 meters long, 700 m high with an average incline of around 14%. It’s fairly steep at some points but still easy to hike.
Right from the start of the hike, the trail starts going up quite a bit, and will keep doing so until you reach the top. You really feel that you are inside of the jungle while you are hiking Pico da Tijuca, and it’s not uncommon to see some animal wildlife here, mostly monkeys and different species of birds. Also watch out for snakes on your way up, you’ll be likely to see some, too.
After about 5-10 minutes of hiking, you will get to a junction where you just continue straight. It’s well marked, so it’s easy to see where to go.
Most of the trail is sheltered, since you are walking inside of the jungle. If it has been raining during the previous days, the trail up to Pico da Tijuca can get a bit slippery and uneven and sometimes you might need to climb under or over fallen trees.
Keep hiking for about 30 minutes on the path and you will get to a stone staircase, this means that you are really close to the top.
This stone staircase was originally built for the Belgian King Albert the 1st, who visited Rio de Janeiro in 1920. Some historians say that King Albert never actually used these 117 stone steps that were built for him but walked up the jungle path instead.
After you have walked up the steps, you will reach the top of Pico da Tijuca. Now that you have finished the hike, enjoy the marvelous 360 degree view of the entire city of Rio de Janeiro.
You will see the 16km-long bridge over Guanabara Bay to Niterói, the Maracanã stadium, Ipanema Beach, Lagoa and other big peaks in Rio de Janeiro like Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Pedra da Gávea, Dois Irmãos and more…
When you get to Tijuca National Park, it’s possible to stop by the tourist information/museum for a map to get more information about the hike up to Pico da Tijuca and also more tips about other hikes you can do in Tijuca National Park.
You probably get hungry after the Pico da Tijuca hike. Stop by the restaurant “Os Esquilos“, it’s only a 5 minute drive from Bom Retiro. Os Esquilos offers an international cuisine menu with Brazilian specialties and best of all it’s located in the heart of Tijuca National Park.
P.S. They don’t take cards, make sure to bring cash.
For more information about the restaurant, click here!