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Trekking the Nevado de Toluca

The first snowfall is here and many take this opportunity to visit the volcano, a symbol of Toluca
Nevado de Toluca volcano - Photo by ENEAS DE TROYA
Viridiana Ramírez
Toluca, State of Mexico
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With two turquoise lakes and nine snowy peaks, the Nevado de Toluca volcano, in the state of Mexico, is one of the most visited landscapes, mainly now that the first snowfall is here. 

Getting there
At the 6km of highway 3 that leads to the Nevado de Toluca you will find Parque de los Venados (Park of the Deers), a management site run by the common landholders. There's a fee of MXN$40 (roughly USD$2) per car and in this area you can find toilets and food stalls.

It's possible to reach the crater by car and from there, climb the peaks in a matter of hours but, like any mountain, safety precautions still apply to prevent accidents or injuries.

Arrive early. Preferably before 8:00 as this place is a popular attraction. Peak hours are between 13:00 and 16:00 and Saturdays are the days with the most visitors.

Wear warm clothes. Whether the mountain has snow or not, temperatures are usually low, so it's strongly recommended to wear a good, warm jacket, gloves, and a beanie hat or similar. Outdoor shoes are also recommended, mainly if you're planning on climbing one of the peaks.

( Nevado de Toluca – Photo: Alan Carranza/EL UNIVERSAL)

This volcano is the fourth highest mountain in Mexico, standing at 4,691m. Due to the height, some people may experience nausea, dizziness and other medical conditions which can lead to accidents. It's recommended to hike slowly, drinking plenty of water, and avoid consuming illegal substances or alcohol. This hiking route is not recommended for babies or children below 12, as they are prone to altitude sickness.

Use the paths. While hiking trails lack signs they are easily spotted. For your own safety, always walk in the middle of the path and do not try to climb the walls of the crater, as this can cause a fatal accident.

Climbing the peaks. If you wish to climb any of the peaks, like the Eagle's Peak or the Friar's Peak, it's recommended that you plan for the ascend and that you do not attempt it alone. Weather conditions change quickly in this mountain and you could end up trapped in a fog bank with zero visibility, or, if you decide to reach the peak in a spur of the moment, nightfall could be upon you. Always have with you a fully charged cell phone.

(Nevado de Toluca – Photo: Alan Carranza/EL UNIVERSAL)

In case of an emergency dial 066. Forest rangers will be immediately alerted and emergency teams dispatched to the area. The response team can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours to reach your location, as this highly depends on weather and accessibility conditions. Considering this is a rough terrain, rescue operations are usually done by foot.

Access to the Natural Park is from 8:00 to 16:00, all year round. That being said, the Park closes when there are strong snowfalls, for the safety of its visitors.


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