Although it's often closed, this trail is El Yunque's best backcountry adventure. The 12.6km round-trip to El Toro (3522ft) and back is challenging due to wet conditions, thick mud and poorly maintained paths. It's an all-day excursion for most hikers (some parties even camp out overnight).
El Toro is El Yunque’s highest point and the trail traverses dense jungle broken by intermittent views of both coasts. During the ascent you’ll pass through all four forest zones, ending in the cloud forest at 3000ft. This haunting dwarf forest features ghostly epiphytes and ubiquitous mist.
The trailhead for the Trade Winds Trail is situated at Km 13 on Hwy 191, behind the gate where the road ends. The unpaved path climbs 6.3km to the summit of El Toro, from where you can either retrace your steps or continue west on the similarly vague El Toro Trail to Km 10.8 on Hwy 186 (3.4km from El Toro and 9.7km from Hwy 191). From here you’ll need to return the way you came, or arrange for a car to pick you up.
Be sure to contact the forest visitors center for current road conditions and trail status.