GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 5.12 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 1917 Meters
Total Descent: 1867 Meters

F-2.0 Loop-Trail "Los Miradores"

Distance          5.10 km

Time                4.00 – 5.00 hours

Altitude          2780m - 3385m

Ascent             1080m

Descent           1030m

Rating             Hard  4/5  (Wet & slippery trails, strong winds, often cloudy & raining)

Start                Refugio Cajanuma, PN Podocarpus 2780m

End                  Refugio Cajanuma, PN Podocarpus 2780m

The refugio is situated 8 km off the main road, access is by private transport or taxi from Loja.

Getting there, see description F-1


Make sure, you carry the right clothing! Don’t be fooled by the hot weather of Vilcabamba. It can be extremely harsh and windy up there! Combined with the frequent rain, which can occur at any time, things are changing very quickly!

From the Refugio Cajanuma, inside PN Podocarpus start a few different hikes:

  • Oso de Anteojos trail (440m)
  • Bosque Nublado trail (700m)
  • El Mirador trail (5.10 km)
  • Laguna de Compadre (30 km round-trip/2 Days)

The first two, short hikes are interpretive and well-marked trails.

The Laguna de Compadre-hike is quite challenging and should best be tried in the drier months of November / December. You would need camping- & cooking gear.

El Mirador trail is a great hike through cloud-forest and up into the windy páramo with nice views into Malacatos- & Vilcabamba valleys and Loja town.

Route: Starting at the Refugio counter clock wise, the trail immediately enters the wet cloud-forest and winds up a steep flank through moss- & liana-covered trees. On this ascent recently occured a big landslide, which makes this climb even more challenging. After one hour climbing, the cloud-forest slowly gives way to open, wind swept rain páramo, and soon after we reach the branch where the level Laguna de Compadre-trail breaks off to the right. Our trail continues climbing to the left along a soggy, wind exposed flat ridge. In 30 minutes we reach the highest point of the trek at 3380m. Mist & clouds permitting, you can enjoy nice views from here. The descent along the western ridge is not all that easy. In places you have to scramble down the steep, slippery trail, but get rewarded with nice views on either side. After 90 minutes, you reach a small saddle, then have to climb a little hill, before descending to a viewpoint at 3025m. From here, the trail swings back south-east, descending & skirting along the flank of the ridge you struggled down before, back to the trail end at the refugio. Before reaching the refugio, there are branches to the short interpretive trails mentioned above.     



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