Around Monterrey

In the hills around Monterrey, on the way to the beautiful Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey , is the bathing resort of
Topo Chico
. Water from its hot springs is bottled and sold throughout Mexico and parts of the USA.

Reached by a road heading south of Monterrey (extension of Avenida Gómez Morín), is
,, an ecological park in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, with magnificent views of the Monterrey area. It is popular for birdwatching, hiking, mountain biking and climbing, with peaks reaching 2200 m.

Northwest of Monterrey, off the Saltillo road (Route 40, as it heads southwest), are the
Grutas de García
. The entrance to the caves is 800 m up, by cable car, and inside are beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. A tour of the caves takes 1½ hours, and it is compulsory to go in a group with a guide. You can take a bus to Villa de García, but it is a dusty walk to the caves.

San Nicolás Hidalgo
is a small town 38 km northwest of Monterrey on the Monclova road (Route 53). Dominating the area are the massive limestone cliffs of
Potrero Chico
(4 km west of town, take the road leading on from Calle Francisco Villa). The cliffs are a magnet for big-wall climbers, particularly during the US winter, and have some of the hardest pitches in the world (up to 5.12d), including the 650-m-long
Sendero Luminoso
route on the central pillar of El Toro. The climbing school here is the best in Mexico. A sheet guide by Jeff Jackson describing 80 of the best climbs and places to camp is available at the store on the left before you reach the
. Accommodation is at the
Posada El Potrero Chico
Autobuses Mina
leave at hourly intervals from Monterrey bus station to Hidalgo (bus station on plaza).

Towards Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey

Heading south from Monterrey, the road threads through the narrow and lovely Huajuco Canyon. From the village of Santiago (34 km south of Monterrey), a road runs west to within 2 km of the Cola de Caballo (Horsetail Falls), the largest in Mexico, in the Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey. There is a first-class hotel on the way, and you can take a colectivo from the bus stop to the falls and hire a horse to take you deeper into the park where there are other waterfalls: the 75-m Cascada El Chipitín and Cascada Lagunillas. There is a two-day circuit, Recorrido de Matacanes, starting at Rancho Las Adjuntas (off of Route 9 south of Santiago), taking in both these falls and involving river canyoning, abseiling and swimming through tunnels. Ask at Asociación de Excursionismo y Montañismo in Monterrey.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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