Rio de Janeiro is well-known for its beaches, but it’s so much more than that - the city also has various stunning hiking trails and breathtaking views that will keep you off the beach.
If you’re coming to Rio, you don't want to miss hiking at least one of these mountains so you can enjoy the different part of Rio charm.
Christo hike (Corcovado)
This hike is an amazing way to get another view on a famous attraction, and also to save some money on overpriced tourist transport. You’ll start your hike through the beautiful Parque Lage, and climb through the rainforest to the famous viewpoint at the top. The trek isn’t difficult, but it has some steep parts and takes a few hours, so you should be in good shape.
How to get there:
- The trail starts from Parque Lage, near the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Garden). Access to the path is located behind one of the buildings in the middle of the park behind the main house. After that the hike, it’s well marked.
Hiking time: 2 hours + 1-hour return
Height: 710 m
Dois Irmãos hike
Typically this is the first hike for many tourists in Rio. The “two brothers” mount is gorgeous to hike. Once in Ipanema Beach, you will notice that there are two big hills to the right - that’s Dois Irmãos.
The view from the very top is magnificent: Ipanema Beach, the Lagoa, the Christ, the Sugar Loaf, Niteroi.
How to get there:
- First, you need to get to the favela Vidigal. You can take a bus from Ipanema or Copacabana, or take the metro to Antero de Quental, in Leblon. If you take the bus, you’ll have to ask the driver to stop when you reach Vidigal. If you take the metro, you’ll have to walk 20 minutes from Leblon to Vidigal.
- When you get to Vidigal, you can take a moto taxi and go up to Alto Vidigal. The price is cheap, but if they see that you’re a gringo, they’ll try to charge you more. Try to negotiate and say that you are staying here.
- Once in Alto Vidigal ask locals for the “trilha dos Dois Irmãos.”
- Everyone knows the way. Don’t be frightened when they point you to a narrow pathway between several houses - that’s right! Follow it until they end and you’re on the trail.
This hike is short and anyone could do it.
Hiking time: 45 min + 25 min return hike
Height: 533 m
Sugarloaf & Morro do Urca
The cable car ride up to the Pão de Açucar is one of the most famous attractions for Rio tourists. The cable car goes from Praia Vermelha to Morro da Urca, then continues all the way up to the Sugar Loaf. What many people don’t know is that there is a hiking path for free, without taking the cable car all the way up.
How to Get to there:
- From Botafogo metro station, take a cab to Urca, ask the driver to take you to “Pao de Acucar”.
- You’ll be dropped off at the base of the hill, next to the cable car station. If you’ll only be hiking Morro do Urca, then buy a ticket from Urca to Sugarloaf. Tell them you’ll be walking. (If you don’t want to go up to Sugarloaf, you can take the cable car back down for free)
- After getting your ticket, walk towards the mountain. Between the cliff and the end of the beach is a concrete trail, follow that. After a few minutes walking, you’ll notice a gravel trail leading up on the left. Keep walking on it until it splits, then keep on your right and hike all the way up to the cable car station.
Location: Urca (Botafogo)
Hiking time: 30 min (Only Urca) /3 Hours (All the way to Sugarloaf)
Difficulty: Very easy
Elevation: 396 meters
Pedra da Gavea hike
Pedra da Gavea, with its square table shape at the top, is one of the most challenging hikes in Rio. Although the hike takes 3 h to get to the top, you need the whole day for this adventure.
The views from the top are worth the effort. It’s only 842 meters high, but with its spot right in front of the ocean, you’ll feel like you’re much higher. In this hike to get to the top, you must use ropes to climb a 30-meter vertical wall. That part isn’t difficult, but some people might find it challenging. It’s advised to only climb this part with proper climbing equipment, ropes, helmets, and the supervision of a guide.
How to get there:
The trail begins in Barra da Tijuca. You must go to Estrada do Sorima, in the Barrinha neighborhood. At the end of that street is a square where cars are parked. The walk begins at the end of the street, to the right of a gate with the number 936 on it.
Hiking time: 3 hours + 2 hours return
Difficulty: Average – Challenging
Height: 842 m
Pedra Bonita hike
Just next to Pedra da Gavea is located similar (but slightly lower) wonderful mountain hike with the views to Pedra da Gavea. Locals named this “Beautiful Rock” because of the views, and it’s no surprise why.
The Pedra Bonita hike is easy to hike for everyone, and only takes about 30 minutes of hiking from the start of the trail. You can see birds, butterflies, and maybe even some monkeys there!
How to Get to Pedra Bonita:
To go there by public transport take a bus to São Conrado. From there, you’ll take the bus line 448 Macarí – São Conrado. This line will take you to the entrance of the parking lot, where you’ll start the hike.
Location: Sao Conrado
Time: 40-60 minutes of total
Elevation: 696 Meters
Pedra do Telégrafo hike
This place is outside of the city, but it has become quite popular because of the optical photo-effect you can get there. The trail itself is quite simple and easy. The main attraction involves taking a photo of yourself hanging from a big stone.
If you go during the weekend, be ready to wait in a long line of people waiting for the picture. The stone is situated in such a way that it looks like you’re hanging from a high cliff when, in reality, you’re just a few feet off the ground.
How to get there: To get to Pedra do Telégrafo, you need to take a bus going to Guaratiba. Then you’ll keep walking along Estrada da Barra da Guaratiba until you reach the beach, where the trail begins.
Hiking time: 35 min + 15 min return
Height: 354 m
Vista Chinesa hike
A perfect trail for those who want to enjoy the views and beautiful hike at the same time. before you start the hike take the opportunity to walk through Parque da Cidade - a beautiful park with gardens, rivers, a museum, and many walks. Or visit neighboring Rocinha, the largest favela in Latin America.
How to get there:
You’ll have to take a bus to the Gavea neighborhood and then walk to the Parque da Cidade. Once Inside the park, find the path to Horto. You’ll have to take that trail. Then you’ll reach a point where it says: “Attention, dangerous dogs.” There you’ll take the track on the right, but not the one that runs down; take the one that goes up. After that point, you can’t get lost.
Hiking time: 45 min + 20 min return
Height: 380 m