Visible on the horizon from Mexico City, the dormant Iztaccíhuatl volcano is Mexico’s third-highest peak and a popular choice for hiking excursions. Iztaccíhuatl is named for its resemblance to a sleeping woman, and scaling the 17,159-foot-high (5,230-meter-high) summit offers impressive views of Popocatépetl and the Valley of Mexico.
Visit Iztaccíhuatl independently or as part of a guided hiking tour. Hikes typically start out from La Joya at 12,000 feet (3,700 meters). From there, a range of technical and non-technical hiking trails run up the mountainside, taking about three to four hours to reach the permanently snow-capped summit. Travelers who want to avoid the hassle of renting a car or navigating public transport can opt for a tour that includes pickup and drop-off in Mexico City.
Things to Know Before You Go
- An Iztaccíhuatl volcano hike is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Most hiking tours include round-trip transport from Mexico City.
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes, long pants, and other mountain-appropriate gear.
- Bring sun protection and plenty of water, and tote a warm jacket, a hat, and gloves, as it can get very cold at the top of the mountain.
- To avoid altitude sickness, acclimate yourself to Mexico City's elevation before attempt a hike; going to the summit without a guide is not recommended.
How to Get There
The Iztaccíhuatl volcano is located in Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City, and is connected by regular buses to the capital. The easiest way to get there is on a guided tour with round-trip transport included.
When to Get There
Iztaccíhuatl volcano is safe to climb year-round. The best time to hike is in winter when the weather is generally dry and mild. The views are best in the morning, before the smog, haze, and clouds roll in and hide the snowy peaks.
Mexico City's active volcano, Popocatépetl, sits just south of Iztaccíhuatl, and the twin volcanoes are connected by a high ridge. More than a dozen 16th-century monasteries stand on its slopes, and they are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As Popocatépetl is known to erupt, its summit is off-limits. Avid hikers should check with authorities before exploring the slopes.