Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park is located in the central region of Ecuador found with the Andes Mountains. The national park boundaries encompass an area of 128.9 square miles (333.9 sq km).

Cotopaxi is the second highest peak in the country with a height of 19,347 feet (5,897 m). This makes it one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. It is a stratovolcano located within the Andes Mountains.

Although still considered an active volcano, the last eruption occurred in August of 2015. Ruminawi volcano and Sincholagua volcano are neighboring dormant volcanoes further creating a stunning volcanic landscape for travelers. These are all part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Cotopaxi is a spectacular volcano displaying a nearly symmetrical cone shape that rises 12, 470 feet (3,800 m) from its base. The picturesque snow-capped volcano mountain features one of the few glaciers along the equator.

A crater with a depth of 820 feet (250 m) sits atop of Cotopaxi. The crater is 2,624 x 1,804 feet (800 x 550 m) wide with two separate cone rims found along the perimeter.

Highlights

  • Cotopaxi volcano
  • Andes Mountains

Cotopaxi Volcano is one of best representations of a symmetrical cone shape. The snow-capped mountain provides viewers with an amazing photographic landscape. The more adventurous can look to trek up the mountain.

Trails in Cotopaxi National Park

Mountain Ascent: It is roughly an 80-minute hike up the base of the mountain to the ascent launch. There is a place to spend a part of the evening resting to prepare for the overnight ascent. The trek up the mountain takes about 6 hours with most hikers heading up around 12:30 am which places them at the summit around 7:30. 

This is not a technical climb, but it is challenging, and the elevation change often takes out climbers from completing the ascent because of problems acclimating. About half of all attempts succeed.

Sources:

Britannica, Cotopaxi, https://www.britannica.com/place/Cotopaxi, retrieved September 2019.

Cultural Trip, Guide to Cotopaxi National Park, https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/ecuador/articles/a-guide-to-discovering-cotopaxi-national-park-ecuador/, retrieved September 2019.

Ecuador Explorer, Cotopaxi Volcano and National Park, http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/cotopaxi.html, retrieved September 2019.

Volcano Discovery, Cotopaxi, https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/cotopaxi.html, retrieved September 2019.