Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful place where the big city and nature integrate really well. The rocky peaks, the forest, the buildings, and the stunning coastline — everything goes amazingly together over here. It is mesmerizing to think that there are spectacular hikes in Rio de Janeiro. Better yet, probably just a few kilometers away from your accommodation.
With breathtaking views, many trails in Rio de Janeiro lead you to wonderful lookout points, mountains, and hills. You will love to adventure yourself in the urban jungle in Rio. If you are in the Wonderful City, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the city’s great outdoors.
Check out the best hikes in Rio de Janeiro:
Morro Dois Irmãos
Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Hill) is the famous mountain that you see on the background of every picture taken on Ipanema Beach. The hillside overlooks the sea and gives you an amazing view of almost the entire city.
The entrance to the Dois Irmãos hike is at the top of the Vidigal, one of the most famous communities in Rio. But don’t worry — Vidigal is one of the safest favelas in Rio. Residents are used to tourists in the area. There are vans and moto-taxis that can take you to the entrance of the hike.
Morro Dois Irmãos is one of the favorite hikes in Rio de Janeiro. It is relatively challenging, having some steeper paths on the way. However, it is also fairly quick, as the hike itself takes about 40 minutes.
This is a great option if you are looking for a less challenging trail with the same wow factor as the other hikes. Pedra Bonita (Beautiful Rock) offers you one of the most beautiful views of Rio de Janeiro. It’s possible to see the whole west and south sides of Rio from up there!
The easiest way to get to Pedra Bonita is by taking a bus to São Conrado and calling an Uber to reach the entrance of the trail. While in São Conrado, it is also possible to take the 448 bus that will leave you right in the entrance gate of the hike, but if you are not lucky, you might wait almost an hour for this bus to come. It is better to save time.
The hike is 30 to 40 minutes long and it is very easy to complete. You do not need to be in excellent shape to go on this adventure.
The summit of the hike is like a large rocky tabletop with plenty of space to relax, lay down, enjoy the view, and maybe do a picnic.
Morro da Urca
Everyone knows you can take a cablecar from Praia Vermelha to the Sugarloaf Mountain with a stop at Morro da Urca (Urca Hill). This is probably the most famous attraction in Rio de Janeiro, and also one of the most expensive ones. The full ride might cost you R$105.
What people might not know is that it is possible to hike to Morro da Urca and enjoy it for free.
This is the easiest among the hikes featured on this list. You can reach the top of Morro da Urca in 20 minutes if you don’t stop to rest. The access to Morro da Urca’s trail is located on Pista Cláudio Coutinho, a 1.25km lane surrounding the hill.
From the top of the mountain, you have a 360º view of Rio de Janeiro, overlooking Copacabana, Ipanema, Botafogo, the Santos-Dumont airport, the Guanabara Bay, the city of Niterói, and more. There is a cafe, a snack bar, a few restaurants, souvenir stands, and lounge areas over there.
The best thing is: when in Morro da Urca, it is possible to buy a ticket to go to the Sugarloaf Mountain for less than R$50. That way you can make the best of your trip.
Fun fact: it is also possible to reach the Sugarloaf Mountain summit for free. However, you need to be an experienced rock climber. When visiting Urca, it is very common to spot a few people rock climbing the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Pedra da Gávea
Pedra da Gávea (Gávea Rock) is close to Pedra Bonita. However, the rock is higher and the hike to get there is a bit more difficult. The hike takes about three hours and it is recommended that you are in relatively good shape to join it. You will need to use ropes to climb a steep 20-meter rock next to a cliff. Maybe it is better to hire a tour guide to take you there.
From the top, it is possible to enjoy breathtaking views from Ipanema, Copacabana, Lagoa, Barra da Tijuca, and Recreio dos Bandeirantes. Pedra da Gávea measures 842 meters in height.
To get to the Pedra da Gávea trail, you must walk until the end of Estrada Sorimã street, in Barra da Tijuca.
The summit is a rocky plateau with plenty of space for activities and rest. Even though it is against environmental laws, lots of people choose to spend the night camping at Pedra da Gávea. They do that to watch both the sunset and sunrise from the top of the rock.
Pedra do Telégrafo
Pedra do Telégrafo (Telegraph Stone) is the famous stone where you can get the most amazing pictures looking like you are hanging or falling off from it. Of course, it is all about perspectives and it is very safe to take those pictures.
The hike to Pedra do Telégrafo is easy and simple and takes 40 minutes. The bad part about this trip is the line of people to take pictures at the rock. If you don’t get there really (REALLY!) early, you might have to wait 2 hours in line to get that perfect Instagram picture. From the top, you have a paradisic view of the ocean and the most secluded beaches in Rio.
The place is far away from the city — even if you take an Uber, you might spend too much money, as the place is over one hour away from Ipanema. If you want to go there by public transportation, you might need to take three buses. So, probably the best way to get there is by hiring an organized tour or renting a car.
Pico da Tijuca
Located in the heart of Parque Nacional da Tijuca, this is the highest peak in Rio de Janeiro, with 1,022 meters of height. The hike is not difficult per se, but it takes about two and a half hours to climb up to the top.
The trail is well marked and there is plenty of wildlife along the way. If you are lucky, you will encounter some monkeys, wild birds, and lizards.
The view from Pico da Tijuca (Tijuca’s Peak) offers a complete 360-degree panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro. It is possible to see the Maracanã Stadium, Christ the Redeemer Statue, most neighborhoods of Rio, the Rio-Niterói bridge, and much more.
The access to the peak is located in Alto da Boa Vista. You may ask for information on Estrada dos Picos road.
Costão de Itacoatiara
If you have already done the hikes above, how about exploring the neighboring city across the Guanabara Bay? Niterói is a smaller city 13 kilometers away from Rio, with incredibly beautiful oceanic beaches.
Costão de Itacoatiara (Shore of Itacoatiara) is located on Itacoatiara Beach, which is the most beautiful beach in Niterói. It is home to surfers and young locals. The nature surrounding the beach and the mountain is amazing and the view from the top is stunning.
The hike starts at the beach and takes about 30 minutes of a steep climb. It is not the hardest of the hikes, but it is not an easy one also. From up there you can see Rio de Janeiro and Niterói.
To get to Itacoatiara, first, take the ferry boat from Rio to Niterói. Then, take a bus to Itacoatiara at the bus terminal near the ferry boat station in Niterói. There is an information point for visitors near the ferry station and another one in Itacoatiara.
Enjoy the hikes in Rio de Janeiro!
If you don’t feel comfortable going to these hikes in Rio de Janeiro on your own, look for a travel guide to help you. Be aware that you need to enter some communities to have access to these hikes, so make sure to keep on the right track and gather plenty of information before starting your adventure!
Caminhos organizes different hikes in Rio de Janeiro and our students can join us for free. Most hikes mentioned above are part of our free city tour activity that happens every Tuesday and Friday. Make sure to keep an eye on our activity calendar and don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit amazing places in Rio de Janeiro with your classmates.
Study Brazilian Portuguese and make the best out of your trip to Rio de Janeiro. Caminhos offers intensive Portuguese courses and you can learn Portuguese while having fun! When you study with Caminhos Language Centre, part of your fee goes to our social project, Mais Caminhos, which helps underprivileged children and young adults in Rio de Janeiro.