River/Creek · Waterfall
There is a small fee (7,000 COP) to access the trail (prices may vary with time).
This loop encompasses views of the wax palms, goes through two drainages, up through the cloud forest, and past several waterfalls.
Need to Know
Plenty of snacks near the beginning / end. Nothing in between.
There is a small fee to access this trail, maybe a half a mile in, and another fee if you go to the hummingbird house. If taking the gravel road back, I believe there is a fee along that stretch as well.
Be prepared for mud. Lots of it. More than you have likely experienced before. Probably no worse than you have seen before but just with a consistency and pervasiveness that is hard to come by elsewhere. I brought very aggressive Salomons for this reason. But, if you embrace it, it is actually a blast.
The trail starts where at the Willys Jeep drop-off, from Salento. Going off to the right, you'll drop down to Rio Quindio.
You'll have to stop and pay a small fee, as you are passing through private land. The trail drops into the valley with some gorgeous views of the forested mountains in front of you. Once along the river, you'll climb gently along the river, crossing it several times over suspension bridges.
There may be some scrambling necessary as minor (and major) mudslides are always creating the necessity of new ways of navigating. After about 2.5 miles, you'll reach a trail junction. Going straight will eventually take you to Tolima peak at over 17,000 feet or, a bit closer, Reserva Natural Acaime (a hummingbird "sanctuary". Cost is approximately 15,000 COP) . However, this loop just heads up and to the left, where the climbing begins.
The trail will climb steeply up to Finca Montana, with it being quite muddy in the top section, once you leave the woods. From Finca Montana you'll come to a gravel road, which you'll follow. This is the way most people come and go. However, about a half a mile down, on the left, will be a trail heading up into the woods. This is what you want. It is likely going to be a muddy mess (that term might be redefined for you after this trek) as you climb through the pasture-land.
Getting into the woods, the mud gets a little better. You'll continue to climb into the cloud forest. It is spectacular near the ridgeline as the flora begins to change and the clouds/fog create a very unique environment. Looking up through the trees created a black-and-white world. It was awesome.
After reaching the ridgeline, you'll begin dropping down the other side. Again, it is likely to be a muddy mess. It is still a lovely and unique environment, so pretend that you are a little kid and embrace playing in the mud.
This trail drops steeply down to drainage on the other side where the trail that will take you back awaits. This trail is also a muddy mess as it is used by horses. But, if you are willing to embrace it, this stretch is runnable and the river can be accessed to get cleaned up.
You'll know you are getting close when you begin to see more people, particularly people who are obviously not out for an extended trip. This trail eventually take you back to horrifying civilization (but at least there's snacks) where the chaos quickly envelops you.
It is a short jaunt from that point along the road back to where you started where, with any luck, you can have the privilege of standing on the back end of the Jeep during the ride back.
Shared By: Jason Doedderlein