The Pass of Cortes: Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl
When Hernan Cortes made his way toward Tenochtitlan, he and his army passed between two of Mexico’s most famous volcanoes; Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. The 12,000-foot-high pass — now known as the Pass of Cortes — is where he first viewed the Valley of Mexico, and the area, just two hours from the city, marks one of the best trekking spots in the region. The volcanoes, locally known as “Popo” and “Izta,” are the second and third highest in the country, with elevations of 17,802 feet and 17,158 feet.
Directions: Since Popocatepetl is currently active, Iztaccihuatl is your best hiking option.The main route (an out and back) is called La Arista del Sol (Sun Ridge.) From the La Joya trailhead, find the trail heading uphill, travel that route for a quarter of a mile, then head right, heading uphill. Head about two miles to the Grupos de Los Cien hut, and then another 1.5 miles to “The Breasts,” the volcano’s summit. Return as you came.
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