Sure, Mexico City’s artistic credentials, cultural cool, and Old World traditions (not to mention its taquerias) are enough to entertain tourists for a short lifetime. But what if you want to go hiking? After all, Mexico City is nestled among the towering Cordillera Neovolcánica mountain range (which includes three of Mexico’s tallest summits, including the 18,491-foot Pico de Orizaba) and dozens of lakes. Indeed, two hours in any direction from the city will land you in flowering alpine meadows, tall pine forests, or cracked ridges fit for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. From the 11,000-foot Pass of Cortes to a 400-year-old monastery tucked away in the mountains, here are four of the area’s best hikes.
Fair warning: Almost all of the hikes below include serious elevation gain. Before heading upward, give yourself a few days to acclimate to the region’s heightened altitude (Mexico City itself is at 7,382 feet). The dry season runs from October to May, so try to schedule your hikes then — and bring plenty of water.