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The Lake We Almost Didn’t See – A Guide To Hiking Volcan Azufral


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Lauretta Burks



Welcome to the mesmerizing journey of hiking Volcan Azufral, a hidden gem nestled in the lush landscapes of Colombia. This majestic volcano, standing at 4,070 meters above sea level, offers adventurous souls an unforgettable experience filled with breathtaking views, challenging trails, and a touch of mystery.


Volcan Azufral is located in the department of Nariño, near the municipality of Túquerres. What sets this volcano apart is its captivating turquoise crater lake, known as Laguna Verde. However, reaching this natural wonder requires determination and a love for the great outdoors. The hike to Volcan Azufral is not for the faint of heart, but it promises to reward you with a sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring beauty.


As you journey through the rugged terrains, you will be immersed in the untouched beauty of Colombian nature. Surrounding the volcano, you will encounter a fascinating array of flora and fauna, making the hike a unique adventure for nature lovers as well.


Before embarking on this challenging trek, it is essential to plan and prepare accordingly. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information, tips, and insights to make your hike to Volcan Azufral a safe and fulfilling experience.


So, pack your backpack, lace up your boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure unlike any other. Let’s delve into the wonders of Volcan Azufral and unlock the secrets that lie within its mesmerizing landscapes.


Getting to Volcan Azufral

Reaching Volcan Azufral is an adventure in itself. The starting point for this epic journey is the city of Túquerres, located in the department of Nariño, Colombia. Depending on your location, you can reach Túquerres by bus or car from major cities such as Pasto or Ipiales.


If you’re coming from Bogota or Medellin, you can take a domestic flight to Pasto’s Antonio Nariño Airport. From there, you can hop on a bus or hire a taxi to Túquerres. The journey from Pasto to Túquerres takes approximately two hours by road.


Once you arrive in Túquerres, you have a couple of options to reach the trailhead of Volcan Azufral. The most convenient and recommended option is to hire a local guide or join a guided tour. They are familiar with the route, provide transportation, and offer valuable insights about the hike. You can inquire about guided tours at local tourist agencies or the Túquerres visitor center.


For those seeking a more independent adventure, you can opt to take a taxi or private car from Túquerres to the trailhead. The journey takes around 40 minutes, and you can negotiate the price with the driver. It’s important to note that the road leading to the trailhead can be rough and challenging, so it’s advisable to hire a vehicle with good ground clearance.


Additionally, if you’re comfortable with navigation and have your own vehicle, you can follow GPS coordinates or use mobile apps like Google Maps to guide you to the trailhead. Just be cautious of the road conditions and make sure to download offline maps in case of limited connectivity.


It’s essential to plan your journey to Volcan Azufral during the dry season, which typically spans from December to February and June to August. This is when you can expect the best weather conditions and less rainfall, making the hike more enjoyable and safe.


Now that you know how to get to the trailhead of Volcan Azufral, let’s delve into the specifics of the starting point and parking facilities for your convenience.


Trailhead and Parking

The trailhead of Volcan Azufral is located approximately 20 kilometers from Túquerres. Once you reach the designated starting point, you will be transported into a realm of incredible natural beauty and adventure.


There is a designated parking area at the trailhead where you can safely leave your vehicle while you embark on your hike. It’s important to note that the parking area is relatively small, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot, especially during peak hiking seasons.


If you decide to hire a local guide or join a guided tour, transportation will generally be provided, and the guide will take care of parking arrangements. This is a convenient option for those who prefer not to worry about parking logistics and want to focus solely on enjoying the hike.


When parking your vehicle, it’s crucial to ensure that you leave no valuables or personal belongings inside, as there have been cases of break-ins in the past. Take necessary precautions such as locking your doors and windows and storing any valuable items out of sight in a secure location.


As you prepare to start your hike, make sure you have all the necessary gear and supplies readily available. Double-check that you have essential items such as water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, proper hiking shoes, and appropriate clothing layers to adjust for changing weather conditions.


Additionally, before venturing onto the trail, consider using a restroom facility if needed, as there are limited options available along the hike.


Now that you know how to reach the trailhead and where to park, it’s time to delve into the essential items you’ll need for the hike. Let’s make sure you’re prepared for this exciting adventure!


Hiking Essentials

When embarking on a hike to Volcan Azufral, it is crucial to come prepared with the right gear and supplies. Here is a list of hiking essentials that will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  1. Backpack: Choose a sturdy and comfortable backpack that can accommodate all your belongings.
  2. Water: Carry an ample supply of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike. It is recommended to bring at least 2 liters of water per person.
  3. Snacks and meals: Pack lightweight and energy-rich snacks such as nuts, trail mix, energy bars, and sandwiches for sustenance along the trail. Also, consider bringing a packed lunch if you plan to spend a significant amount of time on the hike.
  4. Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by applying and reapplying sunscreen with a high SPF rating before and during the hike.
  5. Hat and sunglasses: Shield yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.
  6. Hiking shoes: Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes with proper traction to navigate the diverse terrains of Volcan Azufral. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and broken in to avoid blisters and discomfort.
  7. Weather-appropriate clothing: Dress in layers to adjust for changing weather conditions. Bring a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer, a warm mid-layer, and a waterproof outer layer to stay dry and comfortable.
  8. Trekking poles: Consider using trekking poles for added stability and support, especially during steep sections or uneven terrain.
  9. First aid kit: Prepare a basic first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary medication.
  10. Navigation tools: Carry a map, compass, or GPS device to ensure you stay on the right trail.
  11. Headlamp or flashlight: If you plan on hiking during early morning or late evening hours, bring a headlamp or flashlight for visibility.
  12. Insect repellent: Protect yourself from pesky insects by applying insect repellent before starting the hike.
  13. Camera or smartphone: Capture the breathtaking views of Volcan Azufral and its surroundings by bringing a camera or smartphone.

Remember to pack your hiking essentials in a way that distributes weight evenly and keeps them easily accessible. It is always better to be overprepared than underprepared when venturing into the outdoors.


With your backpack filled with the essential items, you’re now ready to hit the trail and immerse yourself in the wonders of Volcan Azufral. Let’s explore the trail description and discover the natural beauty that awaits!


Trail Description

The trail to Volcan Azufral offers a challenging yet rewarding adventure through stunning landscapes. Here is a detailed description of the trail, so you know what to expect as you navigate your way to the top:


The hike starts from the trailhead and begins with a gradual ascent through a dense forest. As you walk deeper into the forest, you’ll be surrounded by verdant vegetation, including towering trees and lush greenery.


After approximately an hour of hiking, you’ll reach a section where the trail becomes steeper and more rugged. This is where your determination and endurance will be put to the test. The terrain will consist of rocky paths and occasional tree roots, so watch your footing and take your time.


As you continue climbing, you’ll start to notice a change in the landscape. The dense forest will gradually give way to open grassy slopes with breathtaking panoramic views. Take this opportunity to catch your breath and soak in the magnificent scenery.


After a few more hours of hiking, you’ll reach a ridge that offers the first glimpse of Laguna Verde, the stunning crater lake of Volcan Azufral. This is a perfect spot to rest, take photos, and appreciate the beauty of nature.


From the ridge, the trail continues along the rim of the crater, providing stunning vistas of the turquoise waters below. The path may become narrower at times, so proceed with caution and stay on the designated trail.


As you near the summit of Volcan Azufral, the terrain becomes rockier and more challenging. You’ll need to scramble and use your hands for balance in some sections. However, the sense of accomplishment and the awe-inspiring views waiting for you make every step worth it.


Finally, after several hours of hiking, you’ll reach the summit of Volcan Azufral. From here, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view that extends as far as the eye can see. The vibrant colors of Laguna Verde against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains and valleys create a truly magical sight.


Take your time to savor the moment, rest, and enjoy a well-deserved break before beginning your descent.


The trail back follows the same route you took to reach the summit, so be prepared for a challenging downhill hike. Take caution, especially on the rocky sections, and use your trekking poles for stability if necessary.


Remember, always respect the natural environment and leave no trace of your visit. Stick to the designated trail, avoid disturbing plants or wildlife, and bring any trash back with you.


Now that you’re familiar with the trail description, get ready to witness the breathtaking scenic overlooks that await you on the hike to Volcan Azufral.


Scenic Overlooks

The hike to Volcan Azufral offers several stunning scenic overlooks that are well worth the effort. These vantage points provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and the mesmerizing Laguna Verde. Here are a few notable scenic overlooks along the trail:

  1. The Ridge Viewpoint: As you ascend the trail, you’ll reach a point where the dense forest opens up, revealing a panoramic vista. This ridge viewpoint offers a stunning glimpse of the sprawling valleys below and hints at the beauty that lies ahead.
  2. The Crater Rim: Once you reach the rim of the crater, the true beauty of Laguna Verde unfolds before your eyes. The vibrant turquoise color of the volcanic lake against the backdrop of the rugged mountains creates a mesmerizing sight that will leave you in awe.
  3. The Summit: Reaching the summit of Volcan Azufral is an achievement in itself. From the highest point of the volcano, you’ll be rewarded with uninterrupted panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take a moment to soak in the majestic scenery and appreciate the sense of accomplishment.
  4. The Descent: As you make your way back down the trail, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the changing landscapes from a different perspective. The descent offers unique views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the distant horizon, allowing you to appreciate the full beauty of the region.

Each scenic overlook along the trail offers a different perspective and showcases the raw natural beauty of the area. Take your time at these vantage points, capturing photographs, and creating lasting memories of your journey to Volcan Azufral.


Remember, the weather conditions can vary throughout the day, so the views may change accordingly. Be prepared for possible fog, rain, or changing light conditions, which can add an enchanting touch to the landscape.


As you continue your hike, always prioritize safety and respect for the environment. Stay on designated paths and follow any guidelines or regulations set by local authorities. By doing so, you can ensure that these stunning scenic overlooks remain preserved for future generations to enjoy.


Now that you’ve witnessed the beauty of Volcan Azufral from these scenic overlooks, let’s explore how to reach the summit and experience the stunning views up close.


Summiting Volcan Azufral

Reaching the summit of Volcan Azufral is the ultimate goal for many hikers, as it offers a breathtaking panoramic view and a sense of accomplishment. Here’s what you need to know to successfully summit this majestic volcano:


The final stretch of the hike to the summit can be challenging, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can conquer it. As you approach the summit, the terrain becomes steeper and rockier, requiring careful navigation and concentration.


It’s important to stay on the designated trail and follow any markers or signs that guide you towards the summit. The trail may involve some scrambling and using your hands for balance in certain sections, so be prepared for this level of physical exertion.


As you ascend, take breaks to catch your breath and admire the ever-expanding vista that unfolds before you. The surrounding mountains, valleys, and Laguna Verde in the distance provide a stunning backdrop that motivates you to push forward.


Upon reaching the summit of Volcan Azufral, you will be rewarded with an awe-inspiring view that extends as far as the eye can see. The turquoise waters of Laguna Verde contrasting against the rugged terrain create a scene that is both breathtaking and surreal.


Take the time to soak in this moment of triumph and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings. Capture the views with your camera or simply sit in awe, appreciating the beauty of the natural world.


Remember, the weather conditions at the summit can be unpredictable and may change rapidly, so be prepared with appropriate clothing layers to protect yourself from wind and cold. Take necessary precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of your fellow hikers.


It’s important to note that the summit area can be windy, so be cautious and avoid getting too close to the edges. Take photos, but always prioritize safety and respect for the environment.


After relishing the breathtaking views and experiencing the sense of accomplishment, it’s time to start your descent. Remember to take it slow and steady, using caution on the rocky terrain as you make your way back down to the trailhead.


Reaching the summit of Volcan Azufral is an incredible achievement, and it will leave you with memories that last a lifetime. Cherish this experience and embrace the beauty of nature that surrounds you.


As you descend, take a moment to reflect on the unique journey you’ve undertaken and the stunning vistas you’ve had the privilege to witness. And most importantly, remember to leave no trace and respect the pristine environment of Volcan Azufral.


Now that you’ve conquered the summit of Volcan Azufral, let’s explore some safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.


Safety Precautions

Ensuring your safety during the hike to Volcan Azufral is of utmost importance. By following these safety precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable hiking experience:

  1. Plan and inform: Before embarking on the hike, thoroughly research the trail, weather conditions, and any potential hazards. Inform someone about your hiking plans, including your expected return time and contact details.
  2. Hike with a partner or group: It’s recommended to hike with at least one other person. Having a partner or a group helps in case of emergencies and provides additional support and companionship along the trail.
  3. Check the weather: Monitor weather forecasts and ensure you plan your hike during favorable conditions. Avoid hiking in extreme weather or if thunderstorms are predicted, as this can increase the risk of lightning strikes and dangerous trail conditions.
  4. Come prepared: Pack essential items such as a map, compass, first aid kit, extra food, and water. Dress in layers and bring proper equipment, including sturdy hiking shoes and a headlamp or flashlight.
  5. Stay on the trail: Stick to the designated trail to avoid getting lost or causing any damage to the natural habitat. Do not venture off the marked path, as it can lead to dangerous areas or disturb delicate ecosystems.
  6. Take breaks and stay hydrated: Pace yourself and take regular breaks to rest and stay hydrated. Drink water frequently to avoid dehydration, especially in high-altitude environments.
  7. Be cautious on steep or rocky sections: Exercise caution when navigating steep or rocky areas. Use trekking poles for stability, watch your footing, and take your time to ensure a safe passage.
  8. Follow safety signage and markers: Pay attention to any safety signs or markers along the trail, as they provide important information and warnings about potential hazards.
  9. Respect the environment: Practice Leave No Trace principles by taking all waste with you, respecting wildlife, and avoiding any actions that can harm or disturb the natural surroundings.
  10. Stay updated on local policies and regulations: Familiarize yourself with any specific rules or regulations set by local authorities. Adhere to any restrictions in place to ensure your safety and preserve the natural beauty of Volcan Azufral.

By following these safety precautions and using common sense, you can have a memorable and safe hiking experience to the summit of Volcan Azufral. Remember, your well-being is the top priority, and it’s essential to prioritize safety throughout your journey.


Now, let’s delve into the fascinating flora and fauna that you may encounter during your hike to Volcan Azufral.


Flora and Fauna

The hike to Volcan Azufral offers an incredible opportunity to explore and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that call this region home. Here’s a glimpse into the fascinating plant and animal life you may encounter along the trail:




As you venture through the trail, you’ll pass through different ecological zones, each characterized by its unique vegetation. In the lower elevations, you’ll be surrounded by a dense forest dominated by trees such as oak, cedar, and wax palms. These towering trees create a shaded canopy and provide a habitat for various epiphytes, mosses, and ferns.


As you ascend higher, the forest gives way to open grassy slopes with scattered shrubs and bushes. You’ll find a variety of colorful wildflowers, including orchids and bromeliads, adding vibrant splashes to the landscape. Keep an eye out for unique and rare plant species that thrive in the high-altitude environment.




The diverse ecosystems of Volcan Azufral support a range of wildlife species:


– Birds: You may spot several bird species along the trail, including hummingbirds, tanagers, and Andean Condors soaring high above. These beautiful creatures add a melodic soundtrack to your hike and provide opportunities for birdwatching.


– Mammals: Though sightings are less common, you might encounter mammals such as spectacled bears, deer, foxes, and Andean rabbits. Keep your eyes peeled and appreciate the unique wildlife that calls this area home.


– Reptiles and Amphibians: Various reptiles and amphibians inhabit the forests and wetlands surrounding Volcan Azufral. Look out for colorful frogs, lizards, and snakes but remember to admire them from a safe distance.


– Insects and Butterflies: The diverse ecosystems are also home to a wide array of insect species. Marvel at the intricate patterns and colors of butterflies, beetles, and other fascinating insects that thrive in this environment.


Remember that many of these animals are shy and elusive, so observing them in their natural habitat is a matter of luck and patience. It’s important to maintain a respectful distance and avoid disturbing or feeding any wildlife encountered along the trail.


Volcan Azufral’s rich biodiversity is a testament to the importance of conservation efforts. As you traverse the trail, take a moment to appreciate the delicate ecosystems and the interconnectedness of all living things in this remarkable natural setting.


Now let’s explore the camping options available for those who wish to spend a night under the stars at Volcan Azufral.


Camping Options

For those seeking a more immersive experience, camping at Volcan Azufral allows you to fully embrace the natural beauty of the area and spend a night under the stars. Here are some camping options to consider:


1. Base Camp: The most popular camping option is to set up a base camp at the designated camping area near the trailhead. This allows for easy access to the trail and provides a convenient starting point for your hike to the summit. The base camp offers basic facilities such as toilets and possibly shared cooking areas. Be sure to check with local authorities or guides for any specific regulations or restrictions regarding camping in this area.


2. Wild Camping: For those seeking a more adventurous experience, there is the option of wild camping. This involves finding a suitable spot along the trail, away from the designated camping area, and setting up your tent. It is important to prioritize Leave No Trace principles when wild camping, ensuring that you leave the area as you found it and minimizing your impact on the environment. Make sure to research the specific regulations regarding wild camping in the area and obtain any necessary permits.


3. Guided Camping Tours: If you prefer a guided experience, you can also opt for guided camping tours. These tours usually provide all the necessary camping equipment, including tents, sleeping bags, and cooking facilities. They often include meals and guided hikes to enhance your overall camping experience. Research local tour operators or hiking groups that offer guided camping tours to Volcan Azufral.


Regardless of your camping option, it is essential to come prepared with the right gear and supplies. Make sure you have a sturdy tent, a warm sleeping bag, appropriate clothing for cold temperatures, and sufficient food and water for your stay. Be mindful of the limited resources available in the area and pack accordingly.


When camping, adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace. Respect the environment, dispose of waste properly, and minimize your impact on the natural surroundings. Take care to follow any fire regulations and leave any natural resources undisturbed.


Always prioritize safety while camping. Set up your camp in a safe area away from any hazards, be cautious with fire, and secure your food to prevent wildlife encounters. Stay aware of changing weather conditions and be prepared for cold temperatures during the night.


Camping at Volcan Azufral offers a truly immersive experience, allowing you to connect with nature and witness the beauty of the night sky in this remote location. Take advantage of the camping options available and create unforgettable memories under the stars.


Now, let’s conclude our comprehensive guide to hiking Volcan Azufral and reflect on the incredible adventure that awaits you.



Congratulations on completing our comprehensive guide to hiking Volcan Azufral! You are now equipped with valuable knowledge to embark on an unforgettable adventure to this magnificent volcano in Colombia.


From the mesmerizing landscapes and scenic overlooks to the challenging trails and diverse flora and fauna, Volcan Azufral offers a truly unique and awe-inspiring experience for outdoor enthusiasts. By following the safety precautions and being prepared with the right gear, you can make the most of your journey while ensuring your safety and the preservation of this pristine environment.


Whether you choose to hike to the summit, witness the turquoise beauty of Laguna Verde, or camp under the starry skies, Volcan Azufral promises a memorable adventure that connects you with nature and pushes your limits.


Remember to prioritize respect for the environment, practicing Leave No Trace principles, and being mindful of the fragile ecosystems and wildlife that call this region home. By preserving and respecting the natural beauty of Volcan Azufral, we can ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate its wonders.


So, pack your backpack, double-check your hiking essentials, and get ready to embark on a journey that will test your endurance, reward your spirit, and leave you with lasting memories. The hike to Volcan Azufral is a testament to the power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit.


Now, it’s time to lace up your boots, take that first step, and immerse yourself in the majesty of Volcan Azufral. Let the adventure begin!