Muela del Diablo


The prominent rock outcrop known as the Devil’s Molar (3825m) is actually an extinct volcanic plug that rises between the Río Choqueyapu and the suburban sprawl of La Paz's Pedregal and Calacoto. A hike to its base makes a pleasant – and easy – half-day walking trip; it offers incredible views of the city and valley, and can be easily combined with a visit to Valle de la Luna.

From the cemetery in Pedregal, the trail climbs steeply (several times crossing the new road that provides access to the hamlet near the base of the muela). After a breathless hour or so, you’ll reach a pleasant grassy swale where the ‘tooth’ comes into view, as well as some precarious pinnacles further east.

At this point the walking track joins the road and descends through the hamlet. About 300m further along, a side route branches off to the left and climbs toward the muela's base. From the end of this route you can pick your way with extreme caution up to the cleft between the double summit, where there’s a large cross. Without technical equipment and expertise, however, it’s inadvisable to climb further.

After descending to the main track, you can decide whether to return the way you came, or follow the steep track that circles the muela in a counterclockwise direction and descends to the Río Choqueyapu before climbing the other side of the valley to the zoo in Mallasa. The latter option will turn this hike into a full-day trip, as it takes about six hours between Pedregal and Mallasa.

Inquire locally about safety before heading out and travel in pairs or groups, or with a local guide.

From La Paz the best access to the start of the hike is on minibus 288, marked ‘Pedregal,’ from the lower Prado. The end of the line is the parking area a couple of hundred meters downhill from Pedregal’s cemetery. Returning from Valle de la Luna, you can board these minibuses at Zona Sur’s Plaza Humboldt or follow the difficult walking track from near the zoo in Mallasa, which involves a descent to the Río Choqueyapu and then a stiff 600m ascent to the eastern side of the muela. To return to La Paz from Pedregal, catch a ‘Prado’ minibus from the parking area.

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