Pedra Bonita is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular hikes – and for good reason.
The views afforded by this granite monolith are some of the best in the city, and since Pedra Bonita is also home to the city’s paraglider/hang glider launch ramp, the summit can be accessed relatively easily (there’s a road leading most of the way up).
If you’re short on time (or energy) but still looking to get into the Tijuca Forest, then Pedra Bonita should be high on your to-do list.
- Location: São Conrado, Rio de Janeiro
- 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
*NOTE: The round-trip time listed above is based on my own experience. Please remember that your time may vary greatly.
Getting to Pedra Bonita
- Accessible via public transportation: Yes
- Trailhead parking: Yes
- Trailhead coordinates: -22.985748, -43.279124
- Summit coordinates: -22.988599, -43.282862
To get to Pedra Bonita you must first ascend Estrada das Canoas.
This is best accomplished via car since there is no trail (only a road) leading up to the turnoff for the trailhead. That being said, a walk up to the trailhead from São Conrado is possible (I walked down after my hike up Pedra Bonita).
BY BUS: If you want to grab a bus to the trailhead then you’ll need to catch number 448 (Maracaí x São Conrado). This bus passes the entrance of the road up to the trailhead (which is the same place you can reach with a car).
When you reach the turnoff for the trail you will have to walk up a (very steep) road until you reach a small hut and the trailhead on your right. This is the official trailhead, but it is not the only trail to the summit.
If you continue past this point until you reach a parking lot, there is another (shorter, but steeper and more overgrown) on the right between a tree and a trash can. However, there main trail is much nicer and I would only maybe suggest coming down this alternate if you want to save time on the descent.
The trail up Pedra Bonita is not very challenging, but it’s enough to work up a good sweat.
Check-in with the hut and write down your information (date, time, name, phone number, address, number in group) for the very bored park employee. Then begin by climbing a stone path (similar to the way Pedra da Gávea begins), but the trail quickly turns to dirt. I guess the trail builders got lazy.
Passing some out-of-place looking bamboo, the trail switchbacks up the hillside and begins to climb more steeply.
The trail is very easy to follow and despite there being various spurs leading away from the main route, none are so obvious as to be confused with the trail up Pedra Bonita.
The vegetation along the trail is fairly thick and you should be shaded for most of the hike.
However, the top is completely exposed, so if you’re not a fan of roasting in the sun, then ample sunscreen is advised (but you know that – what am I, your mother?).
As you approach the summit you’ll pass the most difficult part of the trail. Then it levels out before popping you out of the forest and putting you face to face with Pedra da Gávea (which is definitely a hike you should do if you’re up for more of a challenge).
The summit of Pedra Bonita is a huge area that could literally accommodate hundreds of people (and should you find yourself here on the wrong day, then you may have that many hiking companions to share the space with).
To your left, you have São Conrado, Dois Irmãos, and Corcovado in the distance. In front, Pedra da Gávea. If you venture over to the west side (to the right), then you will get great views of Barra da Tijuca.
Be sure to explore the top and not just stay at the high point (where the trail ends) – there’s plenty of rock and vegetation to be seen.
One last tip: if you want the best lighting for photos looking east (the direction you’ll probably be most impressed with), then wait until the afternoon to make your climb.
Pedra Bonita arguably offers the most spectacular views with the least amount of effort.
Only a bit more challenging than Morro da Urca, and slightly less challenging than Dois Irmãos, Pedra Bonita’s summit should be a realistically obtainable goal for most visitors to Rio de Janeiro.
Have any questions about hiking Pedra Bonita? Want another post about another one of Brazil’s hikes? Have a suggestion to improve this information?
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