GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 3/5 - Medium
Track length: 8.77 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 386 Meters
Total Descent: 343 Meters

E-3.1 "Montasueño"-Mollepamba loop

Distance         8.9 km

Time               3.0 hours

Altitude          1530m - 1860m

Ascent            350m

Descent          300m

Rating             Medium 3/5   (a number of barbed wire fences to cross)

Start               Vilcabamba tourist office

End                 Vilcabamba tourist office

This hike is a longer version of hike E-3.0

This loop hike takes us to the hills southwest of town. Via the hamlet of San José we pass Montesueños (Mountain- Dreams)   a Guesthouse / retreat of the late Brian O’Leary (ex Apollo astronaut) and artist-painter Meredith Miller. Uphill from Montesueño we can enjoy the excellent views from the “Finca Salvaje” (“wild farm” no joke, it’s called like this). At the top of the ridge we traverse to the next ridge and up to the Yasanga road and descend to the Hamlet of Mollepamba.

What 4 decades ago used to be bush & scrub, accessed only by the small trail leading to the Lambunuma-pass & Masanamaca, the Mollepamba-area was cleared & settled by a handful entrepreneurial  indigenous families from Saraguro, who, over the long time of seclusion from their ancestral lands, managed to preserve much of their culture. Kids at Mollepamba School are still dressed in their traditional garb, and the Saraguros at the Sunday-morning market in town are easily recognized by their attire.

Route: From the tourist office head 4 blocks south along Calle Bolivar, turn left onto Calle Atillo, cross the bridge at Quebrada Puliche and head uphill. At the top of the little hill branch to the right onto the gravel road passing the Club Hacienda El Atillo. At the intersection Cuatro Caminos, 5 Minutes later, turn left and follow the undulating road to the hamlet of San José, 30 minutes away. Veer to the right at the little shrine & concrete Cross in San José, and 5 minutes later, you get to the entrance of Montesueño. Just 20 meters to the right of the parking place & entrance gate of Montesueño, you find a wooden fence gate to an uphill trail. Climbing 25 minutes along this trail you will encounter a prominent group of Eucalyptus trees with some Adobe ruins among them, the “Finca Salvaje”. Enjoy the excellent views from this spot to the NP Podocarpus, Rio Yambala valley below, Mandango and the mountain ranges of the western cordillera beyond. Continue on the trail uphill, cross the first barbed wire fence, before you get to a fence corner at a group of Agave plants. Cross the fence to the right, in order to get on the trail to the right hand side of the ridge. Follow the fence, skirting the new houses, on the right. Reaching the driveway, you have to cross another fence, then turn right. 300 meters later, follow the driveway uphill to the left, and pass the white water tank and a reddish hilltop house above. The road now levels off and five minutes later, at a blue bike-sign, we branch to the right and descend the undulating road for 20 minutes, to reach the Mollepamba intersection. Heading right, it’s all down-hill to the Hazienda “Mollepamba” and Quatro Caminos, which we reach in half an hour. Here we’re back on known territory on the road we came from. Again we pass the Hacienda Atillo and reach town in 15 – 20 Minutes.



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