Cotopaxi Practice Hike

Intermediate 5.9 km 5215 m 548 m 4 hrs

Price: $ ---


  • Depart Lodge at 9am
  • Begin hiking by 10:30am
  • Hike to Refugio José Rivas for snacks and a rest
  • Continue hiking to the glacier
  • Practice mountaineering techniques on the glacier
  • Eat lunch on the glacier
  • Hike down to the car by 1:30-2pm
  • Return to Lodge

Detailed Iterinary:

On this practice hike on Volcán Cotopaxi in Cotopaxi National Park, you'll have the opportunity to train for bigger hikes like Cayambe and Chimborazo, while also acclimating to the high altitude. You'll start the day early at the Lodge, where you'll be given all the necessary gear for the hike, such as cramp ons, ice axe, boots, helmets, harnesses, and warm clothes if needed. You'll then be given a box lunch for the hike.

After departing from the Lodge around 9am, you'll drive for about 30 minutes to reach the entrance of the national park. From there, it takes approximately another hour to get to the parking lot on the West face of the volcano. This is your starting point, which is at around 4667m. From here, you'll start the hike up to the Refugio José Rivas, which sits at 4864m. The hike is scenic, and you'll be able to see other volcanoes in the area behind you, as well as the summit of Cotopaxi in front.

Upon reaching the Refugio José Rivas, you'll have a chance to refuel with hot chocolate or coca tea, and use the bathroom if needed. You'll then put on your helmets and harnesses, and begin your ascent to the first glacier. It will take about an hour to an hour and a half of snow-covered, rocky terrain to reach the glacier. This part of the hike can be fairly difficult due to the altitude, which will go over 5000m.

Once you reach the glacier at 5200m, you'll put on your cramp ons and attach a rope to each person in the party. Your guide will then teach you about different ascent techniques, such as the French Step and the Duck Foot. You'll also practice falling techniques, which can be a fun challenge. After enjoying your box lunch on the glacier, you'll start your descent, which will be relatively easy due to the loose terrain. It will take about an hour and a half to return to the car and then another hour and a half to drive back to the Lodge. Overall, this practice hike on Volcán Cotopaxi is an excellent way to prepare for bigger hikes and enjoy the natural beauty of Cotopaxi National Park.


  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Hot Chocolate or Coca Tea
  • Water
  • Transportation to and from Cotopaxi
  • Experienced guide, if desired (English or Spanish)
  • Technical equipment
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera

Additional Information:

  • For a budget-friendly option, we recommend a minimum of 2 people for the tour.
  • Our knowledgeable guides are available upon request. Solo trekking is also possible and we can provide recommendations.
  • Let us create a personalized tour for you! Share your interests and we'll suggest other places to visit.
  • Children aged 4-12 are welcome and enjoy a 50% discount.
  • Please note that activities are weather-dependent and may be subject to change.
  • Our tours are tailored to the physical conditions of our guests, and we will adjust accordingly for an enjoyable experience.
On the Glacier
Refugio José Rivas
Refugio Sign
Tour Group Hiking
Hikers on Cotopaxi
Hiking Down
Climbing the Glacier
Foggy Conditions