The Petrópolis-Teresópolis crossing is a national classic for hiking and mountain climbing, considered by many to be the most beautiful crossing in Brazil.
About 30 km long, the Serra dos Órgãos crossing requires physical training and adequate equipment. It is necessary the presence of an experienced guide, mainly in the stretch between Castelos de Açú and Pedra do Sino.
Before commencing the trail, it is necessary to pay the entrance fees and related fees at the entrance and sign the Awareness of Risks and Norms Term. The term must be completed or delivered in the ordinances of the Park. Completion of the term is important for the registration of the entrance and exit of visitors and for the visitor to be aware of rules and conduct procedures. Therefore, it is important that the visitor informs the exit at the entrance to the watchmen on duty.
ATTENTION: Sending the Term by fax does confirms the reservation.
Before starting any mountain climbing activities, read the PARNASO Public Use Rules and the Serra dos Órgãos Conscious Visitor.
CROSSING ITINERARY: The recommended itinerary starts at Park’s Entrance in Petrópolis, located in the Bonfim neighborhood, and lasts 3 days. The Petrópolis-Teresópolis crossing is defined both by the easiness in crossing certain critical stretches, and by the beauty of the landscape, and one can admire the Serra dos Órgãos majestic mountain range.
First Day: Bonfim-Castelos do Açú
Estimated Duration: 6 hours
The trail to Castelo do Açu is considered heavy because of the great altitude variation. Starts from the Park’s entrance (about 1,100m of altitude), arriving at 2,245m at Pedra do Açú. The walk is relatively short (just over 7 km long) but takes about 6 hours for the average climber.
The crossing begins at the PARNASO Petrópolis Venue, in the Bonfim neighborhood. After about 40 minutes on the trail, you will arrive at the entrance to Gruta do Presidente and the Véu da Noiva Waterfall. Another 50 minutes’ walk and you will arrive at Pedra do Queijo, a good place to rest with panoramic views of the Bonfim Valley and the peaks of Alcobaça, Alicate and other Petrópolis mountains. After another 40 minutes climbing uphill, you arrive at Ajax, a location with a water mine. Camping is forbidden on this site.
After passing through Ajax, the steepest climb in Petrópolis begins. Known as Isabeloca, in tribute for the supposed passage of Princess Isabel on the back of mules, this stretch is quite eroded. The situation is aggravated by the various shortcuts that park staff and volunteers have been trying to close, to prevent worsening of the situation.
At the end of Isabeloca, one arrives at Chapadão, a more flat stretch from where you can see Pedra do Açu, also known as Pico do Cruzeiro, the highest peak in Petrópolis, and Castelo do Açu, an interesting rock formation full of recesses where it is possible to find protection from the rain and wind.
Next to the Castelo de Açu there is one of the two Mountain Shelters in the Corssing(the other one being at Pedra do Sino) with an adjacent camping area. This is the resting location for the first night.
On open nights, it is possible to observe the lights from the city of Rio de Janeiro and Baixada Fluminense.
Second Day: Castelos do Acú-Pedra do Sino
Approximate Duration: 7 hours
After the spectacle of the sunrise behind Serra dos Órgãos, the second day of walking begins. In this section the presence of experienced guide is indispensable. Climbers frequently get lost specially in days with excessive fog. The walk is almost entirely performed in altitude fields, small plant formation that, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, only occurs in the Serra dos Órgãos, in Itatiaia and in the Desengano State Park.
Going eastwards you will arrive at Morro do Marco after about 30 minutes. The place is easily identified by the small stones pyramid that gives name to the hill.
At Morro do Marco you can take a variant of the trail and see the Portáis de Hércules (Hercules Portals), a kind of gazebo on the edge of the steep slopes of the Serra dos Órgãos, with a beautiful view of the Vale da Morte.
Descending from Morro do Marco, in about 30 minutes, you will arrive at Vale da Luva, a place covered by the interesting nebular forest, with abundance of epiphytic plants, among which stand out orchids, endemic to the Serra dos Órgãos. The valley is divided by a small creek where it is possible to refresh and fill canteens. The place is a camping alternative for those who intend to make the crossing with only one overnight stay or for routes longer than three days.
After that, we start climbing the Morro da Luva. The summit is reached in about 30 minutes. After descending on a rocky surface, where the trail is not well marked and the risk of getting lost in foggy days is high, you arrive at Cachoeirinha (another 30 minutes), a place with abundant water and a recommended rest location.
The Elavador climb, just after Cachoeirinha, is an iron staircase that requires balance to pass with cargo backpacks (photo on the side). After about 40 minutes, you will reach Morro do Dinossauro, one of the highest locations in the park, where you can admire Pedra do Sino, Vale das Antas and Pedra do Garrafão. The descent to the Valley of the Antas takes about 40 minutes. In the valley, there are other water mines from Rio Soberbo and the location has water all year. Camping is prohibited on site due to the fragility of the environment and the water mines from Rio Soberbo.
After another steep climb, you will reach the Dorso da Baleia, in front of Pedra do Sino. From the location it is possible to observe the biggest climbing wall (bigwall) in Brazil, where the Franco-Brazilian and Terra de Gigantes routes are located. After descending to a grotto, you begin to climb the wall that leads to the Pedra do Sino. The climb is steep and the passage known as Cavalinho is the most dangerous portion of the crossing (pictured below), where the use of ropes is mandatory.
After the Cavalinho portion, the climber follows a narrow path that contours the Pedra do Sino until you find the trail to the summit, the highest location in Serra dos Órgãos (2,263m). Depending on the time of arrival at this point, you can choose to climb to the summit or descent to mount camp or settle in the Pedra do Sino shelter (Shelter 4). It is prohibited to camp on the Pedra do Sino peak.
The climb to the Pedra do Sino at night is highly recommended, especially in good weather conditions. he view of the city from Rio de Janeiro at night is amazing and worth the walk.
Third Day: Pedra do Sino-Teresópolis
Estimated Duration: 4 hours
The third day trail only includes descending from Pedra do Sino to the PARNASO Teresópolis Venue. The trail is composed by 11 km of relatively smooth descent with beautiful views of the Teresópolis county and Três Picos State Park. We recommend to climb up the Pedra do Sino peak to admire the sunrise.
Below 2000 meters, the vegetation structure begins to change. The altitude fields are replaced by a nebular forest, with lots of bromeliads and orchids. The trail, shaded by the woods, passes through the ruins of the old Shelter 3, a resting place with gazebo. The remains of the old Shelter 2 are difficult to recognize amidst the vegetation.
An alternative for those who want more adventure is to do other trails with access starting at Shelter 4, such as the Garrafão trail, before descending.
In the descent, you will walk by two waterfalls, with special attention to the Véu da Noiva Waterfall in Teresópolis with a 16 meters fall.
What to take…
Backpack of 60 to 80 liters, sleeping bag (from 0 to – 5 degrees), flashlight with extra batteries, 1 canteen of 1 liter of water or camelback, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, thermal underwear, fleecee, anorak, dry tech, windbreak, raincoat, stick, hiking boots, slippers and sneakers already worn, trekking socks, hat, gloves. Food: instant noodles, instant soup, nuts, dried fruit, bread, cookies, snacks, milk powder, instant coffee, sugar, chocolate, boiled eggs, rice, beans, and other dry and canned food.
© PARNASO, 2018