Last updateFri, 05 Sep 2014 1pm

Walking the Agua Dulce River Loop: A great outing for all ages, cars & seasons

This hike takes you through beautiful landscapes and fascinating rock formations located less than an hour from Guadalajara. It’s one of those walks even small children can do and the site, unlike so many places I’ve described, can be reached by any sort of vehicle. Can you ask for anything more?

Yes, you say. “I want the assurance that my family – and my car too – will be safe the whole time.

No problem. The River Loop is on private property owned by Agua Dulce Rancho Ecoturistico, perhaps the best organized place for camping inside the Primavera Forest, located 18 kilometers due west of Guadalajara’s periferico (beltway).

The walk starts near almost a dozen long, stone columns lying side by side. What? Ruins of a Greek monument, here in western Mexico? No, these are natural phenomena, superb examples of fossil fumaroles, long rock cylinders which originally marked the path of gases rising through a pyroclastic flow 140,000 years ago. Most frequently, you see only the tips of such columns, typically sticking out of the ground like tree stumps. Here at Agua Dulce, upheavals of the earth have exposed the columns and tilted them to a nearly horizontal position.

The trail we are on is wide and smooth. Signs indicate it’s also a bicycle path but our guide, Samuel Curiel, says “It has a steep and rough section up ahead. It’s good for hardy mountain bikers but it’s not for family cycling.”

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