WALKING / HIKING IN THE LAKE CHAPALA AREA:
There are literally hundreds of trails in the hills above Ajijic; only the four main ones are shown here, plus a few of the more obvious secondary trails (marked in black). The lesser trails (not marked here) tend to become overgrown and impassable during the rainy season (June - October).
WARNING! All of these trails are steep and rocky, and can be dangerous. During the wet season they can be slippery, and when it's dry the surface is loose and equally slippery. Remember that Ajijic is at about 1500m or 5000ft, and the sun is very strong here, so plan accordingly - wear a hat and bring plenty of water.
If you have problems on these trails and need help, the fire department ("bomberos") will come and rescue you - call 376-766-3615 on your mobile phone. The main Ajijic police telephone is 376-766-1760. Note that you will need to speak enough spanish to be able to tell them where you are!
Tempisque Trail (approx 2km, vertical rise 350m)
This trail follows the Tempisque canyon north, then bears west, steeply up the hillside to an ejido (local indigenous tribal) ceremonial area (please respect this). The trail is well marked with painted rocks and ribbons tied to trees.
Trailhead: "TEMP TH" on the map, at the top of Calle Tempisque
Distances along the trail: (click to emlarge)
- Mirador: 0.75km
- Shrine: 1km
- Ceremonial Area: 1.9km
- Salvaje Junction: 2.3km
Capilla Trail (4km to "CRUCES", vertical rise 850m)
This is really two trails. The first is the popular trail up to the chapel overlooking the village. After reaching the chapel you can continue up to "El Pandito" (the saddle) and on to the ridge. Be warned that the trail to the ridge is steep and you should be in good condition to attempt it: allow at least 2 hours to reach the ridge, and remember that hiking down is as difficult as hiking up.
Trailhead: "Capilla TH", at the top of Calle Colón. Walk all the way up the street and a little way around to the left (west). The trail head is easily visible, marked by a small shrine.
Distances along the trail:
The trail to the chapel is broad and obvious, and is notable for the shrines to each station of the cross.
There are actually two gates, these are V-shaped gaps in fences to allow hikers access. The first is on a steep section, this is the second gate (marked "GATE01" on the map above), and also marks the junction with the "Salvaje Chica Return" trail. To follow the Salvaje Chica, turn right at the gate and follow the trail along the fence to the east. To stay on the Capilla trail, cross through the gate and continue north.
El Pandito: 2.1km
This is a large saddle and a good place for a rest before continuing up the mountain. You can also go east or west on the Salvaje trail.
Once you reach the ridge, turn left at the junction and continue west for about 50m uphill to the group of crosses. Needless to say, there are wonderful views here!
Tepalo Trail (yellow on the map, 0.8km, vertical rise 115m)
This is a fairly easy walk to the waterfalls, which run only during the wet season (June - October). It is also the first section of the Salvaje trail.
Trailhead: "Tepalo TH", at the top of Callejon de Tepalo, itself the continuation of J. Incarnación Rosas - Donas Donuts is on the corner of this at the carretera.
Salvaje Trail (9km loop, vertical rise 900m)
Named after an annual race, usually run in June. The record for the race is 1 hour, 19 minutes! But allow a minimum of 4 hours to walk it if you're in very good condition, 6 hours at a more normal pace, excluding rest stops. The route is well maintained by the groups who run it, and is marked with white painted stones. The race actually starts and ends in the main town plaza, adding about 2.5km.
Distances along the trail:
Cascada (waterfall): 0.8km
El Pandito (saddle): 1.5km
Junction with Tempisque trail: 2.7km
La Chupinaya: 4.3km
This is the highest point on the trail (2348m / 800ft), and is marked with a small metal cross.
A small shrine to the virgin of Guadaloupe, built into a rock face
Cascada (return): 8.5km
Tepalo Trailhead: 9.2km
(the above courtesy of www.amigosdelago.org)