Outdoor Activities near Monterrey

While Monterrey is known to be a large industrial city in Northern Mexico, it is also very close to impressive outdoor attractions that lure tourists from all over the world. Many of the activities mentioned in this article are ideal for families looking to get away from busy life, but trips can also be designed for hardcore oudoorsmen. Most of the locations are less than an hour away from Monterrey, which makes taking day trips to the outdoors very accessible.

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Parque Nacional Cumbres

This is one of the largest national parks in Mexico and is an astounding ecological area full of majestic moutains, breath taking waterfalls and challenging rock climbing cliffs. Interesting attractions such as La Huasteca, Chipinque, and Matacanes are located in this park so if you are planning a trip here, please read the descriptions of each area below to give you a better idea of what to expect.

La Huasteca

huastecaLocated west of Monterrey, La Huasteca is an ideal place for walking, mountain climbing, rappel, swimming, and photography. Many families take day trips to the park to enjoy a picnic lunch and a relaxing afternoon around the water.

La Huasteca Hours and Prices

La Huasteca is open from Monday to Sunday and you can go from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located in the Parque Nacional Cumbres in the town of Santa Catarina. This is a great option if you are traveling on a low budget because the entrance to the park is free, except for some areas.

Chipinque Ecological Park

chipinqueThis park is also located in the Parque Nacional Cumbres and offers a wide range of activities such as: a place to observe birds and butterflies, hiking trails, camping and much more.

You can explore the 36 miles of trails on foot or you can go on mountain bike. If requested in advance, you can get a guided tour to one of the four main hills. This is a great option if you want to know more about the natural habitat or if your don´t feel comfortable exploring on your own.

Chipinque Hours and Prices

Chipinque is located about 18 km from the center of Monterrey and it is open from Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is another great option if traveling on a small budget because it costs about 5 pesos per person or 30 pesos per car to enter.


matacanesThis canyon is located in Río Lagunillas in Santiago, about 40 km away from Monterrey and also forms part of the Parque Nacional Cumbres. Here you will find more extreme outdoor activities such as repelling, hiking, swimming, diving, spelunking, etc. It is considered to be one of the most impressive canyons in the world and is formed by the descent of a river into a canyon. Here you can explore steep repel descents, waterfalls, and natural waterslides.

El Potrero Chico

El Potrero Chico is found about an hour away from Monterrey and is known around the world for its majestic peaks and breath taking opportunities to make challenging climbs. There are a variety of climbing schools in the area that will take you up to the walls, which may make your trip a lot safer and more informational. It has a large variety of routes and many of them have permanent artificial anchors in the rocks. There is also a campsite nearby and it is located close to the town of Hidalgo, where you will find markets and restaurants that offer typical Northern Mexican food.

Cascada La Cola del Caballo

cola-de-caballoThis is a beautiful waterfall located about 20 minutes away from downtown Monterrey close to the town of Villa de Santiago. The name of the waterfall, which means Horse´s Tail in English, is due to its unique shape resembling a horse´s tail. You can take a liesurely walk to the waterfall, or take a different approach and go on horseback.

The walk is about a mile long and as always, I recommend bringing plenty of water, a camera, sunscreen and insect repellent. This is another economic attraction because the entrance fee is about 35 pesos and it is a great place to spend a relaxing day.

Cascada La Cola del Caballo is a great place to take pictures and spend the day with your family. You can bring a sack lunch or find a nice place to picnic along the way as well. If you aren´t prepared for an elaborate picnic in Mexico, there are plenty of restaurants, snack bars and souvenir stores along the way.

There is also a 5-star hotel called Hacienda Cola de Caballo located a short distance away from the waterfall. It offers a beautiful view of the forest below and its restaurant is known to be a great place to eat.

Grutas de Garcia

grutas-de-garciaLocated about 45 minutes away from Monterrey in the town of Garcia, these caves are a great way to explore underground Mexico. Founded in 1843, these caves are over 60 million years old and are accessible by taking a cable car. The entrance to the caves is enormous and the passage way is lit up so you can easily enjoy the stalactites, stalagmites and interesting crystalized formations.

Grutas de Garcia Hours and Prices

This is another great option for families because it has a playground and a swimming pool close to the parking lot. It only costs about 40 pesos to get in and children pay a lower fee. You can visit the caves Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credits:

1 by skar_lejano on Flickr
2 by aaronernestoortizlopez on Flickr
3 by James on Flickr
4 by mestdagh on Flickr
5 by aaronernestoortizlopez on Flickr