Cotopaxi: hiking between 3,600 & 4,200 metres high

HIKING BETWEEN 3,600 & 4,200 METRES
Cotopaxi shows no signs of approaching decrepitude, and for many centuries yet to come it may remain the highest active volcano in the world; or perchance the imprisoned forces may find an easier outlet, through barriers offering less resistance, and either Sangai, Tungurahua, or Pichincha may become the premier volcano of the Equator.

Edward Whimper, 1892.

Cotopaxi, is the centerpiece of the Cotopaxi National Park, which lies about 55 km south of Quito and whose symmetrical cone can often be seen from the capital on a clear day. Within its borders, the park has an administrative centre and museum. There are also picnic areas, camping sites, huts, and a refuge. Inside
this national park are smaller peaks such as Rumiñahui (4,712 m, 11,968 ft) and Morurco (4,840 m, 12,294 ft)
which offer excellent hiking and camping opportunities.

Cotopaxi trek
Suggested itinerary:

Day 1. We leave Quito early in the morning and arrive at a recreation area within Cotapaxi National Park called “El Boliche”. From this point we will start to hike upwards towards a ridge which
we will follow until the base of Rumiñahui. Here we will take a brief lunch break and afterwards turn south along a gentle ridge and eventually reach our camp where we will spend the night. Dinner will be served.
Day 2. After breakfast we will cross over flat plains for approximately 3 hours. We will arrive at some archeological ruins called Pucara Salitre where the guides will give a description of the
ruins. Lunch will be served, and we will return to Quito by early evening.