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Hiking the Jorullo Bridge and Sierra Madre Occidental

by Angelique Platas

Dec 7, 2019

Photo: Angelique Platas

Destinations / Mexico

Hiking the Jorullo Bridge and Sierra Madre Occidental in Puerto Vallarta may not be the most popular tour for visitors, but it should be, especially your adventurous families looking for some rugged jungle expedition. The epic views of thick mountain foliage, challenging climbs and rewarding waterfall swims are a picture of quintessential Mexican adventure tourism.


Make sure you and the kids are up for the challenge and get planning.


The hike is a workout for sure, but an accessible one that most ages and skill level can achieve. Just make sure you have shoes with traction to avoid slipping on the varied terrain.


Jorullo Bridge and Sierra Madre Occidental in Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Angelique Platas


At an eight-kilometer loop (or nearly five miles), hikers begin with a trek across the highest and widest suspension bridge in the world (don’t be scared, it sustains the weight of several four-wheelers at a time with little movement) and some of the most motivating views a hike can offer. Take in the incredibly lush greenery cascading down the protruding mountain sides while zipliners whiz by in the distance — which might be enough for the thrill-seekers to see and want to do next.


Sierra Madre Occidental in Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Angelique Platas


Grab a drink at the bar (yes, there is a bar at the beginning of the hike) and begin your two-hour expedition. Be sure to bring water bottles, bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, which everyone can carry in their own lightweight backpack. Make sure the swimmers in the family wear a swimsuit under their hiking clothes and bring water shoes — there will be a swimming break under the waterfall at the middle of the hike and the rocks can be a bit slippery.


Swimming break. Photo: Angelique Platas


Follow your leader (an expert guide from Canopy River) up the mountain, learning about different indigenous trees and animals, but keep an eye out for roaming cows. Once you get to the waterfall, you’ll definitely have worked up enough of a sweat to want to jump in and stay in. Bask in the refreshing, rushing water and work up the nerve to get out, get dressed and hit the trail again, just another 20–30 minutes back to civilization.


Once back at the start, adults can enjoy a well-deserved tequila tasting while the rumbling stomachs enjoy some snacks and guacamole before hitting the road on your next adventure — or shower. If hiking isn’t your family’s thing, Canopy River has a lot more to offer for all levels of adventure enthusiasts.


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