An Alternative Hiking Experience in Ecuador

When you think of hiking in Ecuador, you most probably imagine typical Andean backdrops of highland landscapes and snow-capped volcanoes.

But Ecuador offers a distinct and alternative hiking experience that often gets overlooked. Hiking in Ecuador’s cloud forest offers some amazing off-the-beaten-track trails and unique experiences.

Back of lady with purple t-shirt, orange backpack and baseball hat as she looks out over a forest view in Ecuador's cloud forest

Walking with Wildlife

If you love hiking and wildlife then this is for you. As you explore forest trails you will be on the look-out for toucans, tanagers, orchids, bromeliads, medicinal plants. This is also home to the endangered Spectacled Bear and many other mammals. Bear sightings are becoming more frequent in Ecuador’s cloud forest at certain times of the year, a conservation success story to be celebrated and supported.

Panoramic Views

Hiking in the cloud forest can involve a bit of up and down. Trails tend to be hilly as you navigate the deep forest terrains, but remember you are at a lower altitude compared to the high Andes, so there is definitely more oxygen to go around. The cloud forest hikes Original Ecuador offers tend to take place between 1400m - 2000m. The rewards for climbing cloud forest trails to secluded lookout points are the spectacular 360-degree views that greet you. Definitely worth the effort!

Wild Swimming

The cloud forest is filled with pristine rivers and inviting waterfalls. After a good forest hike, there is nothing more welcoming than a dip in a local “bado” or swimming hole. Guaranteed to be an extremely refreshing experience, which leaves you tingling all over!

Supporting Conservation Projects

There are many incredible and important ecological reserves in Ecuador’s cloud forests that need and deserve our support. They are fighting the threat of mining, hunting, colonization & deforestation. The ecotourism projects provide communities with a sustainable income whilst ensuring the protection of the forest. We can support them by visiting them, staying in their lodges, hiking their trails, learning about their work and sharing their stories.

Wellingtons On

If you have visited Ecuador’s cloud forest you will know exactly what we are talking about. For those of you who haven’t, brace yourselves. We wear WELLIES (rubber boots) to hike in the cloud forests of Ecuador. Weird right? They are perfect for the trails which can be wet and muddy in places, and they can protect your ankles from biting bugs. OK, they are not for everyone but we definitely recommend you give it a go if you want to hike like a local.

Check out our 4 day / 3 night Lodge to Lodge Cloud Forest Hiking Tour itinerary, which supports two great cloud forest reserves – Santa Lucia Cloud Forest and Maquipucuna Reserve. Wellington boots included!

Ecuador's Cloud Forest
This beautiful bird is a Collared Trogon, look out for it when hiking in Ecuador's cloud forest.
Mystical early morning panoramic views of Ecuador's cloud forest.
The cloud forest offers many idyllic wild swimming spots, perfect for cooling off after a good hike.
Deforestation contines in Ecuador's cloud forest region, showing our support of local ecotourism projects is more important than ever.
Wellington boots are the foot wear of choice when hiking in Ecuador's cloud forest.