cerro quitasol hikes medellin

Medellin has grown in popularity over recent years and has become a hotspot for party-goers and travelers alike. It is often referenced as the City of Eternal Spring. While I love everything about Medellin and what it has to offer, a lot of people miss out on some of the best activities here. There are many amazing hikes in Medellin that are great for all fitness levels.

I know that I just scratched the surface during my time in Colombia. A few times, I got stuck in a rainstorm during the hike. This shouldn’t deter you from going during the rainy season as the forests are even more lush and beautiful. If you’re looking for other activities to do other than visiting El Poblado or Communa 13 then continue reading this guide.

In this guide, I will go over different hikes that you can do throughout Medellin and give you the details needed to complete them.

salto del angel envigado

Where is Medellin?

Medellin is a bustling city in Colombia. This large city is located in the Northwest province of Antioquia. It is popular amongst backpackers and world travelers alike.

Below are directions to Medellin from a couple of other popular places in Colombia.

Salento to Medellin

When visiting Colombia, you will see many travelers talk about the tall palm trees in the south. This area is called Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley) and is next to Salento.

  • Head to the Terminal de Buses en Salento. This is where you can buy tickets to any location. Buses from Salento to Medellin will take one day. Prices on Redbus range around $70,000 COP.
  • We decided to stop by the town of Jardin. This was a long day of 2 separate buses but La Cueva Del Esplendor Hike made it all worth it.

Cali to Medellin

I didn’t end up having time to make it down to Cali during my trip to Colombia. I’m going to make it a point of emphasis when I return.

  • This trip is around 9 – 10 hours. A more popular route, so there are plenty of companies to choose from. I found a deal on Redbus for $68,000 COP for a night bus.
  • Another viable option is to fly from Cali to Medellin. All flights domestic flights in Colombia are very reasonable prices. These normally range from $20 to $50 USD.

Best Places to Stay in Medellin

If you are visiting Medellin, most likely you will be planning on staying in El Poblado. This is the most popular area of Medellin with plenty of bars, coffee shops, and restaurants for your needs. Below are some of the best hostels in this area.

  • Black Sheep Hostel: This is Medellin’s most popular and social hostel. They have drinks for sale, hammocks, and an amazing terrace for you to hang out at.
  • Purple Monkey Hostel: Another very popular hostel in El Poblado. It is known to have the comfiest beds and is perfectly located. There are also FOUR outlets at your disposal.
  • Los Patios Hostel: If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then Los Patios is an excellent option. It has one of the best rooftop pools in all of Medellin.

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
hikes medellin

9 Amazing Hikes in Medellin

1. Cerro de Las Tres Cruces

Are you into fitness and looking for a great workout while traveling? Then this is one of the best hikes in Medellin that offers both.

Cerro de Las Tres Cruces is a local favorite for a reason. Not only is this an incredible hike that gives great views of Medellin but there is also a gym sitting at the top. During this hike, you will see many fitness goers using the place as their workout for the day.

This hike only takes around 30 to 45 minutes to reach the top. Overall out and back should take 1 hour and 15 minutes. To get there the best way is to take an uber. There is actually a GPS location for it called Hike Tres Cruces. If you’re taking a taxi just name the hike you’re doing and they should know where to go.

If you’re coming from El Poblado then the ride should cost around 12,000 COP. We came from Rosales and it cost us $7000 COP. Totally worth it to add this hike to your Medellin list of things to do.

cerro de las tres cruces

2. Arvi Park

The most popular nature area in Medellin is easily Arvi Park or Parque Arvi. Located just outside the city, it’s no wonder this is a popular attraction in Medellin with multiple hikes.

We had the issue of not checking the dates they are open and we went the one day they are closed. Below is the schedule for when they are open.

  • Monday – Closed
  • Tuesday – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Wednesday – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Thursday – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Friday – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday – 8:30 am to 6 pm

There are multiple hikes and activities to partake in when visiting this park. We decided to do the Ancestral Trail as it gave the best views of Medellin. This was a nice relaxing hike that was around 2.7 miles out & back. A very minimal incline is involved with some good views.

This is one of the pricier hikes to do. The best way to get here is to get on the metro for $2900 COP and head north to Acevedo. From here you will transfer to the cable cars and ride to Santa Domingo. After this, you will have to get off and head to the other cable car which will cost an additional $11,000 COP each way.

I would suggest doing the hikes in Parque Arvi solely for the chance to ride the cable cars and see Medellin from a different view.

drone shot ancestral trail

3. Cerro El Volador

This next hike is probably the least strenuous on the list of hikes in Medellin. Cerro El Volador is another popular area in Medellin that the locals love to go to. It is more of a traditional park than the others on this list.

If you want to get to the top to enjoy the view it will take around 30 to 40 minutes depending on which route you take. It is a 1.8-mile loop trail. The cool thing about this hike is an airport located right next to it. This means you’ll see planes fly very close overhead of you.

There are some benches located at the top which are great for eating lunch or you can go further along the ridge to have a picnic. It is nice visiting a park which has some great objectives such as:

  • Protecting the natural plant species
  • preserving the archaeological findings
  • Showing appreciation for the Borra Valley
360 view cerro el volador

4. Cerro Quitasol

Located slightly outside Medellin in the town of Bello is a hike that few people know about. Cerro Quitasol is one of the most challenging hikes located inside Medellin if not the hardest.

This is the highest point in Medellin which offers great views of the city. The hike isn’t for the faint of heart as it is a 6.7-mile point-to-point trail. That isn’t the difficult part. The elevation gain for this is 3800 feet or 1200 meters. This is by far the hardest part of the hike.

The best tip I can give you is to bring enough water. It is not ideal to run out of water on this hike as, during the most challenging part of the hike, you’ll be straight in the sun. Also, download wikiloc for all of your Colombian hikes. You can follow the route we took here.

cerro quitasol featured

5. Salto Del Angel, Envigado

Outside of the city of Medellin are a few waterfall hikes. One of the most popular and largest ones is Salto del Angel.

These hikes are located in the district of Envigado and are another popular outdoor area in Medellin. The hike straight to Salto del Angel isn’t too long. It is quite easy to trek to the trailhead where you descend.

You will want to start at La Catedral. You can take the A-line on the metro down south and get off at the Envigado stop. From here a taxi to La Catedral will cost around $25,000.

From La Catedral, you will want to go to the back of the building behind the parking lot. You will see an opening into the forest. This is the beginning of the hike.

hikes medellin

6. Cascada El Silencio

Further down the river of Salto del Angel is another, lesser-known waterfall. Cascada el Silencio is smaller than the other waterfalls mentioned in this guide.

Instead of taking the ropes up to the entrance to Salto del Angel you will want to keep walking down the path. You will come across ropes leading down. Keep following this path until you get to an open field.

Once at this open field directly across from you is the river. Hop across it and keep following the river upstream. You’ll have to hop across a few times but as long as you keep following the river upstream you will find it.

We had the help of some locals, otherwise this wouldn’t have been one of the hikes that we would have known about in Medellin.

cascada el silencio

7. Chorro de las Campanas

Sticking to the same region as the two previous waterfalls above is the more famous and is traveled to more often as well. Chorro de las Campanas is a great waterfall for swimming. There are some tour guides that will take you to this.

Unfortunately, we were unable to make it here as our 3rd waterfall of the day. This was largely due in part to the immense amount of rain that came down on us. As we were climbing down to the waterfall it became too muddy and unsafe so we had to turn around.

As I have suggested before, be sure to download wikiloc. Here you will find multiple hikes and read reviews of them. It costs $5 for a 3-month membership. You can download offline maps and follow other steps.

Bonus: Hiking Near Medellin

These last 2 hikes are not in Medellin and will require a 2+ hour bus to get to. That being said it is very doable to complete these hikes in one day and head back to Medellin.

8. La Piedra Del Penol

Arguably one of the most popular day trips in the whole country is visiting the town of Guatape. Located in this town is the unique structure called the La Piedra del Penol.

The town of Guatape is amazing and you can easily spend more than one day here. That being said the day tour includes a lot and there are so many to choose from in Medellin. Included in this tour are transportation to and from Medellin, breakfast/lunch, a boat tour, and a tour of Guatape town.

That being said the rock is the reason most come to this town. It is a huge rock protruding out of the ground at 2100 meters, you can’t miss it. Built alongside this rock are 700 steps that take you to the top. Here you can enjoy 360-degree views of the town of Guatape.

la piedra del peñol hikes medellin

9. Cerro Tusa

Known as the natural pyramid hike in Colombia, Cerro Tusa will really test your will to keep going. This hike is located near the town of Venecia and is around a 2-hour bus ride from Medellin.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time during our stay in Colombia and were unable to do this hike. It was on our bucket list of hikes to do in Medellin and I still think it should be on yours as well.

The kilometers hiked isn’t too much but what makes this hike so difficult is how steep it is. It is highly suggested to wear gloves during this hike because chances are you will have to grab onto trees to help keep you from sliding.

Once at the top you can enjoy amazing views of Colombia and feel extremely accomplished about what you just went through.

Best Experiences in Medellin

Medellin is growing in popularity weekly. Everyone I have talked to that has been here having loved it and so far, I do as well. Some of the popular activities here include visiting Communa 13 tour. Communa 13 used to be one of the most dangerous parts of any city in the world and now it is completely redone with graffiti and art. If you are down for a little bit more of an adventure, then visiting the famous El Penol Rock in Guatape is a must when coming to Colombia.

Final Thoughts About the Hikes in Medellin

When I speak to many people who have been to Medellin before, they always say they didn’t know there were so many hikes to do there. I’m not surprised by this because the hype around this city is the party scene. It was nice not having so many people on the trails as it is way more relaxing. I do wish more people knew about these hikes though. I would suggest you try to fit in both partying, site seeing and visiting some of these amazing hikes that Medellin has to offer!

Thank you for reading my guide on all the hikes to do around Medellin. I hope this has brought light to some unknown areas of this beautiful city as well as added some more things to do to your list.

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