|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2013
Got your eye on Cotopaxi? Work up to it on a series of acclimatizing hikes before tackling the big one. These trips, in ascending order of difficulty, are ideal proving grounds: close to Quito, tall enough to help your legs and lungs adjust, and all doable without a guide.
2. Volcán Imbabura
Test out your high-altitude legs on this 6-mile out-and-back to the 15,190-foot crater of an extinct volcano 40 miles northeast of Quito. Climb west through gentle, rolling farmland and foothills covered in thigh-high grass. Crest a saddle at mile 2, then scramble up rocky outcrops to the summit crater. Trace the exposed rim south another .7 mile to hit the crater’s highest point.