Pedra da Gávea – The Most Breathtaking View of Rio de Janeiro
With 6.7 million inhabitants, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. Nevertheless, here it is easy to forget that you are in a big city during your Brazil vacation. The many high rocky hills tower above Rio's skyscrapers and offer fantastic views of the metropolis. There are hiking trails to almost all of the peaks, one more varied than the other. The absolute highlight is Pedra da Gávea, the highest point in Rio de Janeiro.
What makes the hill so special?
Pedra da Gávea is the highest rock directly by the sea in the world. It is located near Barra de Tijuca beach from where the trail starts. The summit is 2,762.47 feet (842 meters) high and offers a fantastic 360-degree view. From here, you see the famous Statue of Christ and the Sugarloaf Mountain as well as the long sandy beaches of the city. You also have a perfect view of the countless paragliders that take off from neighboring Pedra Bonita. You won't find such a panorama anywhere in the world and in combination with the exciting climb, Pedra da Gávea is unique.
The biggest challenge – 100 feet of climbing
If you decide to climb up to the peak, you should already have hiking experience and not go without a guide or very experienced climber. This is because the trail is the most difficult hike in the city and includes a small climbing section that is not without danger when climbing without equipment. The reporting of injuries or even deaths due to overestimating one’s abilities is not uncommon at Carrasqueira, the most challenging climbing section. Therefore, we recommend to book an experienced guide who has rope and harness with him.
This is the trail to Pedra da Gávea
Once you have overcome Carrasqueira, it is only a few minutes to the summit. The way to get there is a real adventure. The start of the trail is at about 230 feet (70 meters) above sea level. Here you leave your data and signature with the gatekeeper. Then the hike starts. You will pass waterfalls and monkeys and hike uphill over sticks, rocks, and forest trails. The good thing is that most of the hike is in the shade. But you should still bring sunscreen. You will also pass some springs where you can fill up your water bottle with refreshing spring water.
After almost 2,625 feet (800 meters) of ascent, you will reach the top of Pedra da Gávea and be rewarded with a unique panorama. The hike takes between two to three hours, depending on your level of fitness.
Photo fans watch out!
Pedra da Gávea offers spectacular photo spots that make the eyes of lovers of photography shine. With Rio de Janeiro in the background, you can have your picture taken on various rocky outcrops. Here, images from your Brazil trip are created that leave you breathless and, depending on the camera angle, look more dangerous than they actually are. But be careful and stay alert for every selfie and snapshot. Because in front of the hundreds of feet deep abyss there is no protection.
An insider tip from us: There is a great photo spot a little below the summit called “Garganta do Céu”, “Heaven’s Throat”. Another junction from the main path leads you here, which does not include a climbing part. From the peak of Pedra da Gávea, you can abseil to here and then take an alternate path downhill.