We hiked up Tepala Canyon in Ajijic within our first few weeks of being in the Chapala area. However, it was such a painful experience, that is has taken a long time to blog about it!!

The short hike to the “waterfall” is pretty nice, and the trail is well-traveled. Unfortunately, the waterfall was completely dry while we were there (the dry season).


Since the trail continued up the mountain side, we decided to keep going …not really knowing how long the trail would go.. After hiking for several hours, we realized that we weren’t far from the top.

The views of Lake Chapala were amazing!!

Maiya fell asleep on the hike until the last hour (of the 4 total), when she started to cry. It was during this last period of time that we thought we were so close to the top, so we didn’t want to turn around. But her crying made it unbearable, not to mention the HEAT (heck…it was probably 80 degrees…WHOA!!! Talk about temperature shock!). The hike became much harder near the top as it steepened, and the trail became more and more narrow (making it harder with a baby on a backpack who was getting whipped in the face by branches, etc).
We guess that we were probably 15 minutes from the top when we realized we HAD to turn around. We had to go get Ella from school.

Jared had Maiya on her back on the way up, and I carried her on the way back. After the trip up, Jared was nearly dead. Seriously, he says he had heat exhaustion (we weren’t well-prepared for a long hike like this), and my legs were KILLING me on the way down. I couldn’t walk normally for about 7 days. Ouch. But I managed a smile for the photo…

We ran into some frightening wildlife on the trail as we were heading down. Wild horses!!!
What do you do when wild horses are on your path? We had NO idea!! Bears–YES. Moose-YES. HORSES–NO!!

So, with 2 of them standing in our way, we simply stood there, waiting…not sure if we should risk passing, or not. Eventually they moved out of our way…and we moved on. Weird. 🙂

Our simple hike (haha) ended four hours later when we rushed out of the woods to pick Ella up from school. We were JUST in time!!

Needless to say, the hike pushed us too far for our first trip out, and we didn’t hike the rest of our stay in Chapala (unless you count shopping at the markets as hiking)!! Maybe next year?

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9 Responses to “Hiking Tepalo Cañon in Ajijic”

  1. this is so something we would do- its SO hard not to go to the top!!! The scenery is gorgeous!

  2. What adventurers you are! To hike a mountain with a baby in the backpack! You rock! Sounds like fun!

  3. Wild horses! Wow! Now that's something you don't see everyday!

  4. I feel your pain–only because I ran a marathon once and couldn't walk normally for a week either. I am sure what you did was equivalent!

  5. Dude, you are tough Alisa. I am impressed. I also find it very funny it was too traumatic to blog about until months later. Love all the late Mexico posts! Can't wait for Alaska ones!

  6. I live in Ajijic full-time and have hiked in the mountains for the last 4 years or so. The horses you mention were not wild. Local Mexicans take their horses up in the mountains and let them graze on their own. This is ejido land which is held for the common use of indigenous Mexicans. They also harvest wild camote roots (similar to sweet potatos) and collect firewood they bring down on burro-back. If you’d have hiked much more, you would have also run into the cattle they let graze up there.

    Most of the horses I have encountered have simply moved away as we approached them. However, I have occasionally been surprised by how friendly some are. They approach hikers and sniff our packs, looking for treats, and enjoy being petted and stroked as if they were huge dogs. Quite charming, really.

    It is a good idea to go well equipped when hiking in these mountains, particularly with water (at least a liter/person). I always carry everything I would need if I had to spend the night up there. I probably wouldn’t be terribly comfortable, but I would be safe and sound after the experience. I also tell newcomers to always hike with another person, preferably someone familiar with local hiking conditions. There is no danger from animals or humans but the trails are a maze with no signs. Even experienced local people get lost sometimes. Wandering off on a little-used trail and getting injured might mean a long wait for anyone to discover you, perhaps days.

    If you visit again, email me and I will show you some very nice trails.

    Saludos, Jim Cook

    • Hi Jim,
      I had suspected as much. This post was written 3 years ago, when I was definitely new to Mexico, and wasn’t familiar with how the ejido land is used by the Mexicans and their livestock. We had basically gone on a morning hike/stroll, and found ourselves pushing us further than we should have gone, since we had not planned on hiking for long! I now live here, and my husband and I met you at the Nuevo Posado as we were purchasing a book on Western Mexico last Spring. You invited us to join the hiking group, which we haven’t yet been up to (with our baby in tow)…but you never know! We follow your blog and updates, and I knew your site would provide much more information about the hike, so I included your link on my most recent post about hiking with teenagers. Your posts are always such a great resource for traveling throughout Mexico and beyond!

  7. I am new to Ajijic having brought my husband here to a nursing home. When I return from the states in late June I plan on hiking but am not wanting to,go,alone. : is there a group that I can join? I’m not young but a couple of hours of moderate challenge, I think I would be up to.

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