La Coca Trail

Hiking in El Yunque

To get off the beaten path, try this short but challenging trail. Wilder than some of the more popular forest rambles, this 1.8-mile (one-way) hike descends through thick, flora-rich tabonuco forest and outsized ferns, crossing several rocky streams – prepare to get muddy. It can take three to four hours return because of the slippery terrain and tempting swimming spots.

You’ll have to do some scrambling – long pants are recommended and good walking shoes are a must – but the rewards of private waterfalls and dipping pools more than make up for it.

The trailhead is just up the road past the falls of the same name – just before the Yokahú Tower – where there's a small parking lot.

La Coca made its mark on El Yunque history when a US college professor disappeared here for 12 days in 1997, claiming after his rescue that he got off the trail and was lost. The Forest Service, which had enlisted a search party of 60 volunteers and aircraft, was not amused.

At the time of research, maintenance to the trail was ongoing.