To climb Pedra da Gavea is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences you can do in Rio de Janeiro.
The start of the trail that leads to the summit is less than 200m from the Connection Rio HQ house in Barra da Tijuca. The 800m+ peak is set in the beautiful national park known as Tijuca Forest, and commands amazing views over the city that leave visitors speechless.
The trail is challenging and requires a good level of physical fitness to reach the top, and you should alloew around 2-3 hours to reach the top, around an hour for relaxing and photos, and another 90mins to return. The route should never be attempted in wet weather or bad light, and you go prepared with snacks and water.
The first third of the route is full of deep steps, roots and rocks, making it a great leg and lung-burning workout. The shade of the forest will keep you cool though as you negotiate your way along the well-maintained path.
About a third of the way up the path is a spot known as Ship Rock. This is a local landmark used by many within the BJJ community, who run as fast as possible to the rock as a gruelling conditioning exercise. Connection Rio founder Dennis Asche can complete the run in 17mins 12 seconds. The record holder within the BJJ world is Royler Gracie, who’s sub-17 min time has yet to be bested. Carlinhos Gracie (Carlos Gracie jr) of Gracie Barra, who loves the outdoors, will hike up to the rock weekly when in Rio de Janeiro.
Most of the ascent is through the jungle, until you pass the tree line and begin the final leg of the climb. Here you will need to scramble up a challenging rock face of about 20m. The climb at this point does not require ropes although you do see some groups using them as this section can induce vertigo among the more sensitive of climbers.
Climb Pedra da Gavea – A Rite of Passage
Once at the top you will be rewarded with a breathtaking 360 degree view of the city. Due to the challenging nature of the climb the summit is refreshingly devoid of tourists in comparison to other popular sites in Rio.
Even though it’s a good workout the path to the top is surprisingly accessible and a popular attraction for visitors to the Connection Rio house. It is considered a rite of passage for CR guests to go to the top of Pedra da Gavea at least once during their stay.
Gallery of images from the many Connection Rio guests who have made it to the top
Watch this video to see some of the climb