National Parks Mexico: Top 10 Parks Around Mexico City

Would you like to escape from the chaos, the traffic, and the hustle and bustle and visit the best national parks near Mexico City?

Then, stay with us and enjoy our awards ceremony of the top 10 stunning national parks around Mexico City.


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Mexico City may be a bustling metropolis, but near this city, there are still national parks where you can enjoy nature and its surroundings. They are perfect for your next trip!

All are easily accessible from the city (whether by public or private transport), and here are our top 10 of the best national parks near Mexico City to take advantage of the next time you are in the Mexican capital.


Please give a standing ovation to our top 10 winners of the best national parks around Mexico City 🏆👏👏👏🎉

1. Iztaccihuatl-Popocatepetl National Park

national parks mexico
Izta and Popo landscape

To list the top 10 National Parks near Mexico City, we must begin with one of the most famous ones: The Iztaccihuatl-Popocatepetl National Park. It was founded in 1935 and is among the oldest Mexican National Parks. With an area of 39.000 ha, the park stretches through three states (State of Mexico, Puebla, Morelos), and is part of the Sierra Nevada.

The outstanding biodiversity and richness of its ecosystems provide environmental services as well as wildlife, plants, and mineral goods, which are currently used by the inhabitants surrounding the volcanoes. In ancient times, this area had a deep cultural significance. The pre-Hispanic locals considered both Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes sacred and associated with the cult of water and rain.

Activities:

  • Hike in the Iztaccihuatl and near some natural areas.
  • Have a horse-riding moment.
  • Camp among nature.
  • Jump off the zipline.
  • Visit the National Park’s ecotourism center.
  • Take ATVs and bicycle tours.
  • Enjoy the delicious gastronomy of the area.
  • (Hiking and climbing Popocatepetl is not recommended because it is still an active volcano).

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~2 hours 20 min by car

izta-popo map

2. Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park

national parks mexico
Explore hidden gems

With an area of ​​1598.26 ha, this national park, located in the north of the state of Guerrero, hosts caves considered one of the largest in the world and one of the most visited in the country. It’s also the place where the Amacuzac River is born, and it is the habitat of freshwater otters surrounded by low jungle.

The park’s highlights are spectacular rock formations in its limestone caves, which were formed 85 million years ago. They are believed to have been sculpted by the current of the San Jeronimo River, which currently runs below the cave at a depth of 95 m. In the caves, one can visit its 19 natural rooms. Some of them were used for concerts and hosted by artists such as Andrea Bocelli and Miguel Bosé.

Activities:

  • Practice some rafting in the Amacuzac River.
  • Try some rappelling.
  • Jump off the zip line.
  • Do your best at mountain biking.
  • Go through subway rivers.
  • Stay camping with your friends.
  • In the caves, visit its 19 natural rooms full of colors and lights.
  • Have fun in the middle of nature and go over the suspension bridge to test your dexterity.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~2 h 20 min by car

cacahuamilpa map

3. La Malinche National Park

landscape in mexico
Fog at the Top of Malinche Volcano

Continuing with our top 10 national parks near Mexico City, we share this fantastic national park with you. Named after its giant volcano, La Malinche became a National Park in 1938 with an area of 45,711 hectares. It is primarily famous for its proximity to the capital and its landscapes.

It also serves as a perfect altitude acclimatization sport for those planning to hike taller Mexican volcanos. A classic trail from a base camp will lead you to the first shelter on the slopes of this extinct volcano. You can also reach the summit by roads that rise from other small towns on the volcano’s slopes.

Activities:

  • Hike to the top of La Malinche volcano.
  • Stargaze while camping in the middle of nature.
  • Visit the Malintzi Vacation Center for a pleasant time.
  • Take advantage of the fact that you are close to the magical town of Huamantla and visit it.
  • Taste some of the gastronomy of the place in its different places.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~2 h 49 min by car

la malinche map

4. La Marquesa National Park

national parks mexico
Have fun at La Marquesa!

Officially named after Miguel Hidalgo, a nationally important character, this national park is chiefly known as La Marquesa. Located in the State of Mexico, this protection area boasts ​​1,760 hectares of coniferous forests.

Additionally, it hosts several fish farms and restaurants serving traditional Mexican food and drinks. The park contains landscapes and viewpoints, such as the great ridges and peaks of various shapes and colors. In addition, walking through the park can lead to encounters with opossums, gray foxes, rabbits, squirrels, lizards, and various birds.

Activities:

  • Rent ATVs and go-karts.
  • Do some horseback riding.
  • Practice mountain biking.
  • Hiking in natural areas and mountaineering are some of my hobbies.
  • Camp with your family or friends.
  • Play different ball games outdoors, such as football, baseball, volleyball, etc.
  • Try delicious Mexican snacks (antojitos).
  • Catch a few trout in the various restaurants in the area.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~50 min by car

la marquesa map

5. Nevado de Toluca National Park

nevado de toluca in mexico
Nevado de Toluca Lake

Located near the capital of the State of Mexico, this park is home to the 4th highest peak in Mexico. This place is generally famous for two picturesque lagoons that lie in the crater of the volcano.

It’s worth mentioning that Nevado de Toluca is the only volcano in the world whose crater is accessible by road. Additionally, from its top, you have one of the most beautiful views of the Toluca Valley.

Activities:

  • In the lakes, you can fish rainbow trout (with prior authorization).
  • Practice deep-sea diving (also with prior authorization).
  • Do some hiking on the authorized rails.
  • Do some mountain biking.
  • If you are into history, you can visit several nearby archaeological sites after the hike.
  • Taste delicious Mexican food nearby.
  • Take some excellent photos of the incredible landscapes that Nevado offers.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~3 hours by car

nevado de toluca map

6. Cumbres del Ajusco National Park

national parks mexico
El Ajusco

In fact, the mountains of Cumbres del Ajusco can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, as they exceed 3,900 meters. The Xitle volcano, where you can practice caving, trekking, and mountain biking, is also within the national park.

The park covers 920 hectares of vegetation predominated by Hartweg’s pine, oyamel, and subalpine forests. This site is home to the last specimens of the volcano rabbit, locally known as teporingo, as well as the opossum, the shrew, the coyote, the weasel, the skunk, and the wild cat, among others.

Activities:

  • Do some hiking and mountaineering.
  • Do something more extreme, such as motocross riding.
  • Practice some mountain biking.
  • Ride an ATV (all-terrain vehicle).
  • Do some trekking.
  • See some lovely animals that inhabit the place.
  • If you are an extreme adventurer, you can try caving activities.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~1 h 30 min by car

ajusco map

7. El Chico National Park

el chico park in mexico
Landscape in Mexico

Located just 2 hours by car from Mexico City in Hidalgo, this national park covers 2,739 hectares. It is populated by dense pine, oak, and oyamel forests and innumerable rock formations of great beauty. This beautiful natural park is one of the oldest in the country, decreed as such in 1898 by the then-president of Mexico, General Porfirio Díaz.

Within the park, there is an alpine lodge of the CONANP (National Commission of Protected Natural Areas) and various tourist centers with adequate facilities for ecotourism activities. You will definitely fall in love with the natural beauty and the rocky elevations, which make it a challenge for both expert and novice climbers.

Activities:

  • Camp with your friends.
  • Practice mountaineering.
  • Hike as much as you want.
  • Try some rock climbing.
  • Do some sport fishing.
  • Practice mountain biking.
  • Observe various plants and wildlife.
el chico park map

8. El Tepozteco National Park

tepoztlan in morelos
The Tepozteco Landscape

Although many think El Tepozteco is in Morelos, half of this national park lies in Mexico City. The Tepozteco has some ruins located on the mountain (Tepozteco). By the way, these ruins are the main point of interest in the park and attract multiple visitors on weekends. The area belongs to Mexico’s Neovolcanic Axis and consists of various hills of extraordinary morphology. 

Erosion and other movements have left deep ravines and peaks in the terrain. The area also stands out for its variety of flora: in warmer areas, there is a greater affinity with plants of Neotropical origin, and in parts with cooler climates, there is Nearctic and partially Andean vegetation.

Activities:

  • Explore the area by hiking and trekking.
  • Practice like a pro, some rappel.
  • Observe the wildlife and take some pictures of it.
  • Visit and learn more about the Tepozteco Pyramid.
  • Escape to the magical town of Tepoztlan and get to know its gastronomy and charm.
  • Try some exquisite Mexican dishes near the area.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~1 h 40 min by car

tepozteco map

9. Lagunas de Zempoala National Park

national parks mexico
Zempoala Lagoons

Lagunas de Zempoala (Zempoala Lagoons) is a beautiful area amidst mountains and valleys, where seven beautiful lakes with emerald water are located.

For hikers, numerous trails cross gorges with mushrooms, aromatic herbs, giant oaks, pines, and oyamels. Additionally, in the park, one can find a camping area, parking, and Mexican snacks and crafts vendors on weekends.

Activities:

  • Rest in nature and contemplate the landscape.
  • Organize a fabulous picnic.
  • Practice mountaineering on one of its 2 steep mountain peaks.
  • Hike some of its trails.
  • Take a boat ride.
  • Learn about local plants and wildlife in its visitor center.
  • Find the camping area and enjoy nature while having a snack.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~1 h 20 min by car

zempoala national park

10. Bosencheve National Park

Nestled in the Neovolcanic Mountain Range, this national park lies west of Mexico City in the State of Mexico and Michoacan. It has a temperate, humid climate with altitudes between 2,480 and 3,240 m above sea level. Its vast forests mainly consist of firs and pines, characterized by their uniform height, age, and relative lack of shrub vegetation.

Among the park’s top attractions are two beautiful lakes (Laguna Seca and Laguna Verde), the habitat of numerous migratory water birds. Hawks, woodpeckers, squirrels, rabbits, and armadillos are common in this area.

Activities:

  • Do some hiking.
  • Camp among Mother Nature.
  • Organize a picnic afternoon.
  • Do some sport fishing.
  • Observe its beautiful landscapes and wildlife.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~1 h 50 min by car

map bosencheve national park

Bonus: Desierto de los Leones (Lions Desert)

national parks mexico
Photograph by eltisama (Instagram)

There is a national park called ‘Desierto de los Leones’ on the way to La Marquesa National Park. This place is characterized by keeping many of the natural resources found here alive. The name ‘desert’ comes from the tranquility of the place, not because there is sand.

Its calm, peace, and tranquility are unique, so much so that in 1611, some monks of the order ‘Discalced Carmelites’ chose this place to be in contact and harmony with nature and to be in silence, contemplating the wonders of God.

Activities:

  • Explore and hike in the middle of nature.
  • Eat delicious food in the stands near the place.
  • Organize a picnic.
  • Cycling through the immense forest.
  • Learn about the history of the ex-convent.
  • Enjoy the beautiful green natural areas.
  • Discover the beautiful gardens in the area.
  • Take a tour of Legends at night
  • Visit the Emiliano Zapata Museum.

Distance from Mexico City (Center): ~1 h 3 min by car


This is our list of top national parks around Mexico City. And what are your favorite national parks around Mexico City? Or is there another nature area in Mexico that is at the top of your list? Please write it in the comments!

National Parks Mexico: La Marquesa

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