- 1 National Park Cerro de la Estrella Information
- 2 History of Cerro de la Estrella National Park
- 3 Flora and Fauna
- 4 Geography of Cerro de la Estrella National Park
- 5 Attractions of Cerro de la Estrella National Park
- 6 Conservation and Sustainability
- 7 Practical Information for Visitors
- 8 Photo Gallery
- 9 References
The Cerro de la Estrella National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional Cerro de la Estrella) is an expanse that comprises the Cerro de la Estrella (Huizachtepetl) and the area of forests and landscapes near the Federal District (D.F.), Mexico City. It offers a unique combination of history, nature, and culture. From its rich pre-Hispanic past to its mighty biodiversity, this park has something for every visitor.
National Park Cerro de la Estrella Information
This urban oasis is located in the municipality of Iztapalapa, to the east of Mexico City, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling city center, complementing the protected areas of the Mexican country.
The Cerro de la Estrella holds immense historical significance, being the setting for the New Fire ceremony performed by the ancient Mexica every 52 years.
History of Cerro de la Estrella National Park
From its occupation in pre-Hispanic times to its designation as a national park on August 24, 1938, Cerro de la Estrella has a rich and diverse history, encompassing a total area of 1,183.33 hectares.
During this time, the area served as a crucial ceremonial center for the ancient Mexica, where New Fire ceremonies took place.
During the Spanish colonization, the area around Cerro was transformed into farmland, but its spiritual importance persisted.
Modern Era and Creation of the National Park
Cerro de la Estrella was declared a national park in 1938 with the aim of preserving its rich biodiversity and historical and cultural significance.
Flora and Fauna
Cerro de la Estrella National Park harbors an impressive variety of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. In total, over 380 species of plants and animals are cataloged according to the National System of Biodiversity Information of CONABIO. Out of these species, 10 are classified in some risk category according to the Official Mexican Standard NOM-059, and 44 are considered exotic.
Unfortunately, the presence of original forests in the park is practically nonexistent due to excessive logging, land use change for agriculture, and urbanization.
The park is home to a great diversity of plants, including pines, oaks, and cacti. Eucalyptus forests, introduced during reforestation efforts, are the predominant species in the park. They are followed by smaller quantities of conifer species like patula pine and white cedar.
The park houses a variety of bird, reptile, and insect species, offering visitors the chance to observe these creatures in their natural habitat. Many of the original species have disappeared. Instead, the majority of the population consists of smaller mammals, especially rodents like rats, mice, and some squirrels. Additionally, birds like the Mexican Sheartail (Atthis heloisa), Lili (Echeandia mexicana), Dusky-backed Oriole (Icterus abeillei), reptiles like the Barred Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus torquatus), as well as the Bewick’s Wren (Tryomanes bewickii) and the Rufous-backed Thrush (Turdus rufopalliatus) can be found.
The park also plays a crucial role in the conservation of various endangered species, including the axolotl and the monarch butterfly. Despite the challenges in conserving flora and fauna in the park, some species can still be appreciated, allowing visitors to enjoy the persisting nature in the area.
Geography of Cerro de la Estrella National Park
The park is renowned for its unique topography and temperate climate, making it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Cerro de la Estrella, the highest point in the park, offers panoramic views of Mexico City.
The climate in Cerro de la Estrella National Park is generally temperate, making it an ideal place to visit year-round and enjoy its trails and outdoor activities.
Attractions of Cerro de la Estrella National Park
The park offers a variety of attractions, from historical monuments to hiking trails and annual festivals.
The Cueva del Diablo (Devil’s Cave) is a very special cavernous formation located within Cerro de la Estrella National Park. Although limited information is available about this cave due to its depth, it has generated numerous stories and legends among the local population surrounding the park. It is said that the cave extends to the limits of the state of Puebla, but this has not been confirmed, as exploration becomes impossible at a certain depth. For safety reasons, the cave is currently closed to the public to prevent accidents. However, its mystery and charm add a fascinating element to the park’s ancestral landscape.
Points of Historical Interest
Notable are the ancient Mexica ruins and petroglyphs found on the hill, silent witnesses to the rich history of the place.
Hiking and Tours
Visitors can explore the park through a series of trails that wind through its diverse landscape, from dense forests to desert areas.
Annual Events and Festivals
The park is also the venue for several events and festivals, including the recreation of the New Fire ceremony held every year in March.
Conservation and Sustainability
Conservation and sustainability are key priorities in Cerro de la Estrella National Park, with a focus on protecting its biodiversity and cultural significance.
Threats to Conservation
Despite its national park status, Cerro de la Estrella faces several challenges, including urbanization and pollution.
A series of efforts are underway to protect and preserve the park, including habitat restoration and environmental education programs.
How Visitors Can Help
Visitors can contribute to park conservation by following park rules, participating in volunteer programs, and supporting local communities.
Practical Information for Visitors
Here, useful information is provided to plan your visit to Cerro de la Estrella National Park.
The park is easily accessible from the center of Mexico City, whether by car, bus, or metro.
Best Time to Visit
While the park is beautiful year-round, spring is especially charming when flowers are in full bloom.
Make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and a park map. It’s also recommended not to explore remote trails alone.
Here, a list of books and publications that provide a deeper insight into the history, nature, and culture of Cerro de la Estrella National Park will be provided.
- Information, Monitoring, and Evaluation System for Conservation. "Decree creating Cerro de la Estrella National Park" in PDF.
- Organizing Committee of Holy Week in Iztapalapa, A.C. "History." Accessed on December 14, 2016.
- National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity. "Enciclovida (2022). Cerro de La Estrella National Park."
- Government of Mexico, Simec Cerro de la Estrella profile.
- National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO). "https://www.gob.mx/conabio".