“One of the most beautiful trails in Brazil.
— Rafael Porto
The crossing from Petrópolis-Teresópolis is one of the most famous trails of Brazil. It is located in the Serra dos Órgãos National Park (PARNASO). With many steep climbs and descents, it is considered a difficult run and is about 28 km. It links the municipalities of Petrópolis and Teresópolis, a mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro, and is usually done in three days. The park allows entrance until 10 p.m.
This trail is usually done in 3 days by hikers. It is definitely not a beginner trail for runners. It is totally possible to run it in one day in good weather conditions, but it can get really dangerous when the weather changes fast. It's really easy to get lost.
Note that most hikers will break this trail up into a 3-day run, although experienced runners can tackle it in a single long day.
Park your car or take a bus at the National park entrance in petropolis.
Part 1: Petropolis Gate - Castles of Açu (8 km)
The first section crossing Petrô-Terê is the most demanding, and during the 7 km to the shelter of the Açu, the trail rises approximately 1100 meters. The trail of Morro do Açú follows through a dense forest, and there is a challenging ascent past the fork of the Véu da Noiva Waterfall and following to Pedra do Queijo. The trail gets a bit less steep after runners arrive at the Ajax - water point. After Ajax, you'll arrive to Isabeloca which is considered the most difficult climb to the Açu Castles. Once Isabeloca is over, and after crossing the Chapadão, one arrives at the Açu Castles, where you can stay at the first shelter of the Petrô-Terê. The view of the Açu Castles is impressive, and it is possible to see all of Rio de Janeiro and the Guanabara Bay beyond the Serra dos Órgãos.
Part 2: Castles of Açu - Pedra do Sino (9 km)
This section features the most beautiful crossing of the Petrô-Terê, with an average altitude of 2,000m along the length of the run. On leaving the Açu Castles Shelter, runners will cross a valley to the top of Morro do Marco. After descending this hill, one arrives at the Valley of the Glove, and the trail follows for another stretch of stone, where navigation is complicated, until reaching the Elevator. Note the yellow arrows - Teresópolis direction, and the white ones - direction Petrópolis. Totems also help with navigation.
The Elevator is a ladder made of steel rebar stuck into a steep stone that gives runners access to the summit of Morro do Dinosaur. At the top of the Morro do Dinosaur, you have the first great view of the Rock of the Garrafão and Pedra do Sino. After descending to Vale das Antas, the trail continues to the summit of Morro da Baleia, where you can see the rock wall of the Bell Rock, Garrafão, and the channel where the Cavalinho is located. When crossing the Cavalinho, you'll come to an iron staircase, and the trail follows the channel until it rounds the Stone of the Bell and reaches a fork that gives access to the peak of the Bell and the Shelter 4. The Stone of the Bell is the high point of the crossing.
Part 3: Pedra do Sino - Headquarters of Teresópolis (11 km)
This is the least demanding portion of the crossing. The trail follows the dam for approximately 9 km to the final crossing point. After passing the gate, the trail stops being on stone and transitions to the asphalt. During the descent, runners will come across two waterfalls where the highlight is the Veil of the Bride of Teresópolis, a fall that is 16 meters high.
Dense Atlantic Forest.