DESIERTO DE LOS LEONES, CDMX, MEXICO
Desierto de los Leones (Desert of the Lions) National Park is an 1,867 hectare (4,613 acre) park located in the Sierra de las Cruces mountain range completely within the city limits of Mexico City (CDMX). “Desiertos” does not refer to an arid ecosystem as it is actually a protected forest reserve; rather, it refers to the lack of people and the distance from the city when it was named in the 1800’s. The Leones portion of the nomenclature was awarded to represent the original landlords, the Leon family, who helped the religious order acquire legal possession.
The altitude fluctuates between 2,600 (8,530) and 3,700 meters (12,139 ft) above sea level. Thehigh elevation results in a relatively cold, damp environment that consists of pines, oaks, and firs scattered throughout ravines carved by many creeks and waterfalls. The fauna includes more than one hundred bird, 30 mammal, 7 amphibian, and 9 reptile species. The most prominent of these animals are the opossums, rabbits, raccoons, coyotes, gray foxes, white-tailed deer, hawks, bats, and many more.
The park offers a wide variety of activities, including: mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and cultural and artistic events. It also has an ex-convent, underground tunnels, gardens, and plenty of old, retired structures to explore. You won’t go hungry while visiting as there are a plethora of food stalls and restaurants that offer authentic Mexican food.
Bring your compass, hiking shoes, mountain bike, and camera with wide angle lens for this family adventure. And don’t forget your dog!