Hiking Corcovado: A Tale of Two Hikes & One Nature Walk – Part 1

There are so many ways to visit Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). The statue stands 38m tall atop Corcovado Mountain, serenely overlooking the Cityscape of Rio de Janeiro. Buses, motorbikes, cars and trains all make their way up. In addition, tours can be arranged through hotels, agents, or the friendly tout on the street. We decided that we needed to earn the view from the top. So we set about hiking Corcovado.

hiking corcovado - view of corcovado

Yes, we climbed the 710m vertical height of the mountain. Partly to save a few pennies on transport costs, but mainly for the experience.

we start hiking corcovado

hiking corcovado - yellow boot print on rockThe start of the trail leading to the top is on the left at the rear of the mansion in Parque Lage. It is inconspicuously marked, with a small orange cone and paper sign stating “Pedestrians Allowed” in Portuguese. The first ten minutes of the hike were easy, with a well-paved path meandering through the forest, passing the tranquil-sounding Duck Pond.

We passed a police checkpoint and dutifully gave our names and emergency contacts to them, wondering why on earth they might need them. From there, the paved path became a well-worn trail, marked by yellow boot prints.

a tough trail

hiking corcovado - rock with chainThe trail became steeper and steeper, and we spent the next hour scrambling up natural staircases made of dirt and tree roots.

The most challenging obstacle by far was trying to scale three huge boulders. These were only about 20-30 degrees off being vertical with the only assistance provided being a chain to pull yourself up with.

Nearing the top

By this point we were shattered, so it was with great relief that we crossed over the train tracks, a sign that we were nearly at the top.

hiking corcovado - corcovado sign on train track

Soon after, we emerged onto the road and then it was a (relatively) easy walk to Christ himself. Never, in all my life, has a walk proved to be so satisfying. The moment the statue came into view above the trees feels like you have succeeded in a major accomplishment. It almost makes you forget the people in air-conditioned mini buses watching you drag your sweaty self up the last few metres.

We paid R$12 each (about £2.40) to access the monument. The view from the top was amazing, as was watching all the tourists in peculiar poses trying to get the perfect photograph.

hiking corcovado - official corcovado sign    hiking corcovado - cristo redentor

our reward

After such a hard hike, we decided to treat ourselves. There we sat and ate ice cream in the shadow of one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Unfortunately, we then had to spend an eye-watering R$22 each to get the train back to the bottom.

hiking corcovado - cookies & cream ice cream

Have you ever hiked or thought about hiking Corcovado before?  How did you find it?  Did you do any other hikes in Rio?  Get in touch in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.  

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