The first time I attempted to scale the highest peak in the city of Rio de Janeiro, things didn’t exactly go as planned. I went with a large group and somehow the responsibility of navigation got lost among us and a wrong turn took us to the wrong mountain. That hike, which ended up at an adjacent peak, turned out fine, but I didn’t take my sights off the original goal.
We were intending to hike Tijuca Peak — known for its panoramic views as the highest mountain in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The mountain is equally known for its iconic 117 steps that were carved into the side of the steep granite cliffs. The stairs were chiseled in the early 20th century to prepare for the arrival of the King of Belgium, who was an avid mountaineer.
Now more than a century later, these steps still serve their purpose and allow hikers access to one of the best viewpoints in Rio, rising over 1,000 meters above the city.
Ever since that failed attempt to summit the peak, I knew that I would return. And as my days left in Brazil dwindled, I decided to check that activity off the bucket list and once again attempt to reach the top. Between coming across an array of wildlife, inhaling the fresh rainforest air, and taking in the sweeping city views, it certainly did not disappoint.