Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Hiking Oaxaca: Benito Juárez

Perched at 10,000 ft. in the Sierras, overlooking the Tlacolula Valley, the village of Benito Juarez is a wonderful destination for hiking through cool pine forests, mountain biking, horseback riding, birdwatching, or just hanging out and enjoying the fresh mountain air.

Benito Juarez (1 of 2)

Looking down on Benito Juárez from the mirador. Rick Impett

Click on any photo to enlarge it. Photos contributed by other hikers have the photographer’s name in the caption.
A group of 20 hikers and birders, through the organization Hoofing It In Oaxaca, spent a fun weekend participating in a variety of outdoor activities.


What goes up must come down and vice versa – the mirador is a steep hike UP, which creates a huff and puff situation at this altitude, but it’s so easy going back down (though sometimes hard on the knees). Hiking to the cascada was the opposite – DOWN to the bottom of a ravine followed by the steep climb up. Either way we passed through beautiful farmland where friendly local people waved to us from their fields.

Benito Juarez (2 of 2)

Giant maguey plants make perfect fences! – Rick Impett



Hikers are dwarfed by one of the biggest maguey plants I have ever seen! A loaded crab apple tree is growing behind it.

Our group included a family with two kids excited to try the zip line that was built on the mirador.

Some zippers express unbounded joy!

Others just hang out and marvel at the world far below.

Ecotourism facilities are developed as a way to bring income and employment to mountain communities. People in the community take turns volunteering for a year at a time to support their villages. So welcoming and kind, they are really what make these excursions special. These ladies prepared tasty food that showcased local mushrooms, the hot chocolate is exceptional (no powdered mix here!) and of course there is mezcal.
Each cabaña has a fireplace, and in the evening a young man brings wood and a magic stick and builds a cozy fire. In the morning (or whenever you want) he will light a water heater so you can take a hot shower. Most of the villagers do not have these conveniences in their own homes. comment by hiker Bernie Goldray.
After a day of hiking, zipping, and birdwatching, friends gather to relax before strolling up (yes, it was UP) to the comedor for a yummy dinner and a boot of mezcal.

Taking a well deserved siesta after a long day…our driver, guide who entertains us with stories and information, and friend extraordinaire, Nicolas Garcia.

Benito Juárez was one of the highlights of my trip. I will remember the views, the early morning fog rolling up the hills, the goat herder who asked to give me a hug because I was ‘muy fuerte’, watercress cooked on the comal for breakfast, the astonishing view from the mirador, the easy comraderie of our group, how elegant I was (think Audrey Hepburn!) with a hat and shirt wrapped around my head as I tried to sleep in the cold. Comments by Amber Karr.

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13 thoughts on “Hiking Oaxaca: Benito Juárez

  1. Great pictures! Nic looks like he’s sleeping like a baby.

  2. What a great weekend that must have been! Thanks for sharing the details and the great pictures!

  3. Ole y Lena on said:

    Coordinadores Bien hecho de la fiesta de pijamas

  4. This sounds like an awesome hike, I wish I had done it while I was living in Oaxaca.

  5. These mountain hikes are great – maybe you will be able to return someday!

  6. This looks and sounds like fun Marilyn, but hiking at 10K will take the wind out of the sturdiest sails. Your description of the hotel and rooms sound like our trip to Cusco. Our rustic and charming little room had a fireplace which we used every night, and by magic, the fireplace elves would replenish each day. All our best wishes for a healthy and happy 2016! ~James

  7. Thanks so much. We are going on a similar outing this weekend – you are right about hiking at these high altitudes, especially uphill! Taking photos is a good excuse to stop and let a pounding heart slow down.
    Igualmente on the good wishes for 2016!

  8. What a wonderful world it is where world You hiked. So beautiful and magnificent landscapes!

  9. Looks like a great hike, Marilyn! And lots of greenery along the way. I always pictured Mexico as very dry, so this changes my perception.

  10. At high altitudes many of the mountains around Oaxaca are covered with cool pine forests, and some are even “cloud forests” where it is often cloudy and misty. Some parts of Mexico are dry deserts, others no. We are in the dry season now, and it has rained only a couple of times since October, so there is no wasting of water!

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