GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 3/5 - Medium
Track length: 3.74 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 803 Meters

F-5.0 Cerro Yunanga 2324 m, ascent  from El Carmen

Distance         3.72 km (roundtrip 7.5km)

Time               2.00 hours (Roundtrip 3 hours)

Altitude          1500m - 2324m

Ascent            804m

Descent          0m (Roundtrip 804)

Rating             Medium 3/5

Start               Road crossing Landangui

End                 Road crossing Landangui

Cerro Yunanga is the dominant pyramid-peak, towering high above the villages of Taxiche and Landangui on the Malacatos-Loja road, and therefore an excellent viewpoint overlooking fast areas of landscapes.

Until recently, climbing the peak has been somewhat complicated, due to the out of the way access from the villages of Belen & San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the Alcalde (Mayor) of Loja, José Bolivar Castillo, has proved, that he is serious about improving the touristic infrastructure of the canton of Loja. Following the Completion of the Sendero Ecologico Loja-Vilcabamba, he ordered the Construction of the new trail, ascending Cerro Yunanga from the Landangui / El Carmen side. Mai this year, (2017) a new parking space, a gate and information signs were provided, and the new trail cleverly cut into the Hillside.     

Route: If you do not have your own transport, you can start hiking from the crossroad in Landangui, where the Loja-Buses drops you. Start uphill towards the Barrio El Carmen, 800 meters away. Continue further uphill and after another 200 meters, take the road branching to the right. Another 500 meters take you to the trailhead with the parking space. With your own transport, you can save yourself this 1 ½ km of access road.

Following the trail is easy. Steep climbs are avoided with cleverly cut zig zags, in order to achieve a steady ascent. After 10 minutes, you reach the viewpoint “Mirador de la Virgen”, overlooking the little village of El Carmen. Little later, the trail leaves the shady bushes und follows more or less the open ridge. Ignore the diverting cow trails and follow the ridge uphill if in doubt. The further up the trail, the more spectacular become the views. Two thirds up the mountain, you are able to see the remaining trail with the cross on top.

Reaching the top, there are overwhelming 360° views: East, to the PN Podocarpus, south into the Malacatos & Vilcabamba valleys, west onto the western Cordilleras with Purunuma & Cerro Colambo (3097m), and north towards the Rumizhitana & Cajanuma sections of the eastern cordillera.

Normally you return by the same trail, but if you are the adventures type of person and have still enough energy left, you can continue to descend the western slope, where, after 45 minutes, you will reach the gravel road coming up from the villages of Belén and San Francisco.

Unless you get the chance to hitch a pick up Taxi at the bottom of this road, it is an 8 km hike back to the main road near Malacatos.


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