Desierto de los Leones National Park

In the bustling City of Mexico, there is an oasis of tranquility and nature called Desierto de los Leones National Park, known in English as Desert of the Lions National Park and in Spanish as Parque Nacional Desierto de los Leones. This guide through its marvelous trails, rich biodiversity, and fascinating history will help you prepare your visit and explore this unparalleled natural sanctuary!

Introduction to Desierto de los Leones National Park

Desierto de los Leones National Park

Location and Accessibility

Located in the southwestern part of Mexico City, Desierto de los Leones National Park is easily accessible from different areas of the city, making it a perfect destination for an escape from urban routine. It is situated 3.2 kilometers southwest of Mexico City and belongs to the geomorphological unit of the Sierra de las Cruces, which is also part of the Eje Neovolcánico Transversal mountain system.

Brief History and Foundation

Founded in 1917, Desierto de los Leones National Park is one of Mexico’s earliest national parks. Its history is intricately linked to that of the former convent which bears its name, dating back to the 17th century. Formerly known as "El Desierto de Nuestra Señora del Carmen en los Montes de Santa Fe," it is one of the largest, most significant, and most visited Mexican national parks, among those encompassed by Mexico City. It is situated in the Álvaro Obregón borough, and its expanse spans 1,866 hectares.

Meaning of the Name

Despite its name, this park has neither lions nor is it a desert. The name ‘Desierto’ comes from the old meaning of the word that refers to a remote and quiet place, ideal for prayer and meditation.

Flora and Fauna of the Park

Flora Description

The park is home to a pine-oak forest, as well as various species of moss, ferns, and wildflowers, making it a site of botanical interest.

Fauna Description

Regarding fauna, the park serves as a refuge for diverse species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching or even come across tracks of mammals like the white-tailed deer.

Endemic Species

The park harbors several endemic species, some of which are endangered, underscoring the importance of this park for biodiversity conservation in the region.

Geographic Features

Altitude and Climate

The park is situated at an altitude ranging from 2,600 to 3,700 meters above sea level, providing a cool climate throughout the year, ideal for outdoor activities.

Water Sources and Bodies of Water

Various water sources exist within the park, including springs and rivers, which are essential for maintaining the rich biodiversity of the area.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Exconvento of Desierto de los Leones

The Carmelite ex-convent, established in 1606, is one of the main attractions of the park. This fascinating stone building, once used for prayer and meditation, stands as a living testament to the history of the place.

Festivals and Cultural Events

Throughout the year, the park hosts various festivals and cultural events, such as the Flower of Capomo Festival and the Trout Fair, which present great opportunities to immerse in local culture.

Recreational and Touristic Activities

Hiking and Excursions

The park offers a variety of hiking trails and excursions that will take you through its coniferous forests and protected natural areas.

Picnic Areas and Camping Spaces

For those looking to spend a day in nature, the park features picnic areas and designated camping spaces, making it an ideal spot for an outdoor adventure.

Mountain Biking and Other Outdoor Activities

In addition to hiking, the park provides opportunities for mountain biking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts.

Protection and Conservation

Visitor Regulations and Guidelines

To ensure the protection of the park’s fauna and flora, there are rules that visitors must respect. All visitors are encouraged to practice responsible tourism.

Conservation Strategies and Park Management

The park implements various conservation strategies to protect and maintain its ecosystem. These strategies include safeguarding endangered species, trail maintenance, and environmental education.

Practical Information for Visitors

How to Get There and Opening Hours

The park is open year-round, and access is free. You can reach it by car or public transportation from Mexico City.

Services and Facilities

The park offers a variety of services and facilities for visitors, including parking areas, restrooms, visitor centers, and places to enjoy traditional food.

Recommendations for a Safe and Enjoyable Visit

Always remember to carry water, sunscreen, and weather-appropriate clothing. Follow the signs and respect the park’s flora and fauna. Lastly, enjoy your visit!

Photo Gallery

Panoramic Views of the Park

The panoramic views of the park are simply breathtaking. From towering peaks to lush valleys, each vista is a potential photographic memory.

Flora and Fauna Details

A journey through the park’s flora and fauna will unveil an impressive variety of species, each with its own story to tell.

Images of the Exconvento and Other Attractions

The ex-convent, with its stone architecture and serene ambiance, is an unmissable attraction for any visitor.