Introducing Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos
Created in 1939, this national park covers 118 sq km of mountainous terrain between Teresópolis and Petrópolis. A distinctive feature of the park is the strangely shaped peaks of the Pedra do Sino (2263m), Pedra do Açu (2230m), Agulha do Diabo (2020m), Nariz do Frade (1919m), Dedo de Deus (1651m), Pedra da Ermitage (1485m) and Dedo de Nossa Senhora (1320m). With so many peaks, it’s no wonder that this is the mountain-climbing, rock climbing and trekking center of Brazil. The region has extensive trails, the most famous of which is the 42km, three-day traverse over the mountains from Teresópolis to Petrópolis. Unfortunately, most of the trails are unmarked and off the available maps. Hiring a guide, however, is easy and inexpensive. Inquire at the national park entrance (2642 1070; admission R$3; 8am-5pm) or go with a group organized by one of the hiking and mountaineering clubs in Rio. The best time for walks is from May to October (the drier months).
The main entrance to the national park is at the southern edge of the township of Teresópolis, off Hwy BR-116 from Rio, about 4km from the center. Walking trails, waterfalls, natural swimming pools and tended lawns and gardens make this a very pretty place for a picnic.
From the main entrance, the road extends into the park as far as Barragem Beija Flor. There are several good walks from near here. The highlight is the Trilha Pedra do Sino – a round-trip of about eight hours from the end of the park road (R$9 trail fee). The trail passes Cachoeira Veu da Noiva, the vegetation changes from rain forest to grassland, and the reward is a panoramic view stretching all the way to Rio de Janeiro and the Baía de Guanabara. For a shorter walk, head up to the Mirante Alexandre Oliveira (1100m), from where there is a good view of Teresópolis – it’s about a one-hour round-trip from the park road.
There is another, secondary entrance down in the southeast corner of the national park, off the road from Rio. It also has an information center, walking trails and waterfalls.
Tours are also available from Petrópolis.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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