Experience – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Hiking Pedra Bonita
Pedra Bonita is a massive granite monolith located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. The summit, which is home to the Rio’s paraglider/hang glider launch ramp, offers some of the best views of the entire city. Pedra Bonita is one of the easiest hikes in the city, and it’s a great opportunity to get into the Tijuca Forest.
- Location (trailhead): Estr. da Pedra Bonita, 755 – Alto da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20531-460, Brazil
- Summit elevation: 2,274 ft / 693 m
- Elevation change: 951 ft / 290 m
- Round-trip distance from trailhead: 1.6 mi / 2.6 km
- Round-trip time from trailhead*: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
- Water on trail: No
In order to get to Pedra Bonita, you first need to arrive the top of Estrada das Canoas, which is accessible by car. If you decide to take public transportation, take bus number 448 (Maracaí x São Conrado). Bus 448 bus passes the entrance of the road up to the trailhead.
After you arrive at the turnoff for the trail you have to walk up a very steep road until you reach a small hut with the trailhead to your right. While this is the official trailhead, it’s not the only trail that leads the summit.
The trail to summit Pedra Bonita is not challenging, but you’ll likely work up a decent sweat.
You’ll need to check in with the official trailhead hut and write down your information (name, date, time, number in group, etc.). The trail begins with a stone path, but then quickly turns to dirt.
The trail is easy to follow and given that the vegetation along the path is fairly thick, you should be protected from the sun for most of the hike leading up to the summit. However, the top is completely exposed.
The summit of Pedra Bonita is a huge, capable of accommodating hundreds of people.
As you arrive to the top you’ll see Pedra da Gávea in front of you.To your left is Dois Irmãos, São Conrado, and Corcovado. If you walk to the west side (to the right), then you will see amazing views of Barra da Tijuca.
I’d recommend exploring the top instead of just staying at the high point (trail’s end).
The best lighting for photos of the east (the most impressive direction) is in the afternoon.