To go climbing or hiking in Rio de Janeiro is something I highly recommend. The views are spectacular and the intense experience of nature is a nice break from the pulse of the city. On this page you have some general information, I have some sub sections with more detailed information about climbing and hiking in Rio. If you want more specific intructions on the trails available for hiking in Rio just go to Hikes in Rio and you’ll find some very useful info. For climbing and things related just click Climbing in Rio and you will end up on a page specifically dedicated to that. Now a bit of history and background.

Hiking in Rio - Pedra da Gávea

The view from Pedra da Gávea, one of the more demanding hikes in Rio. Photo by Matthew Ryan.

The Tijuca National Park

It is not by chance that the worlds largest urban forest sits in Rio de Janeiro. In the second half of the 19th century a man called Manuel Gomes Archer foresaw a future shortage of fresh water and wanted to replant big parts of the Atlantic rainforest that then had disappeared. The king Dom Pedro II approved his idea and in 1861 the project started. It was successful and the hills of Rio was again covered by a lush green forest. In 1961 it was turned into a national park.

The Flora and Fauna

A side effect of this was that the plant and animal life of the Atlantic rainforest was preserved, in many other parts of Brazil it vanished as the coast of the country got settled. Today it’s an invaluable source for biologists and zoologists that get access to the Atlantic rainforest that used to cover the coastline of Brazil. Today less than 10% of this unique environment still exists and what is left is under threat from expanding cities and towns. In Rio, it is the rapidly growing favelas that are the biggest threat, every year more and more of the green on the hills of Rio disappear.

Climbing and Hiking the Big Hills

Not only does Rio have the Atlantic rainforest to make it pretty. In combination with some dramatically shaped peaks you have a beauty that makes it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For a rock climber or a hiker it means you will be offered views of a modern city that you can’t find anywhere else.