Volcan de Colima


By: Harry Melts


This National Park is located at the border of Jalisco and Colima States. It was established in 1936 and is 22,200 hektares in size (260 ha. to one square mile). The park has two main attractions: Nevado de Colima (14,370') and El Fuego (12,278').
Ciudad Guzman was our starting point. We hired a guide though the mountain can be hiked without one. I would recommend one for guidance on access roads, especially of El Fuego which utilizes a network of logging roads for the approach.

We visited El Nevado first. As in many of Mexico's National Parks the climber is well provided for. At the 10,000 foot end of the road there is a new brick building under construction for mountaineers. It should be ready for the 61/62 winter season. An ample water supply is available from a spring near the building. A trail leads from here to the saddle between the south and north summit. The south peak is worth climbing also; It offers beautiful views of El Fuego (2000' below) with its dust clouds forming from rockslides and clouds of steam and gas silhouetted against the blue sky. We stayed on top for several hours to enjoy the display; El Fuego was more active than usual due to recent mild earthquakes.

The drive to El Fuego involved a round-about route over logging roads. A recent landslide prevented us from driving all the way to the San Marcos Hut, just two miles from the rim. After camping the night at the slide, we hiked the extra 10 miles the next morning. The hike was interesting with its variety of flora and fauna, including many orchids in bloom. When climbing to the rim of El Fuego care should be taken to avoid the exhaust gases which contain dangerous H2S.

The road to Nevado de Colima is passable to ordinary passenger cars, but for El Fuego you need a good car such as a Volvo, or better still a four wheel drive vehicle. Owners of behemoths can hire a truck with driver from the nearby sawmill town. Carry a good size shovel; The area below the peaks consists of compressed ash which slides easily. We were able to detect several new landslides in a matter of a few hours.

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