In Milpa Alta, the most important volcano of the region is Teuhtli Volcano.
You'll see it painted in murals of Milpa Alta and there are various reasons for its importance.
You can check out this article here that basically summarizes the main legend about this volcano:
"There are numerous New Hispanic legends about this volcano that mix pre-Hispanic myths with Catholic elements. The theogony of the ancient Mexicans says that after the creation of the first man and the first woman, when Tezcatlipoca became the sun, a race of giants arose on the face of the earth. Among that race of giants, two young warriors named Popocatepetl and Teuhtli stood out, who when seeing their world in danger in the face of imminent destruction, tried to defend themselves and forget that both were in love with the same woman: Ixtaccihuatl.
It was Popocatepetl who was in charge of removing her from the battlefield and heading east , but the young woman already had a mortal wound. The brave warrior was also seriously injured, despite this he was able to flee with his precious cargo and move away to put it out of danger. Teuhtli kept resisting until he dropped dead. It was divine punishment for the excesses and constant struggles that existed between men, but also the emergence of the second sun, the sun of the water that Quetzalcoatl was transformed into.
Popocatepetl, deposited the woman on a promontory and sat next to her . Time did the rest, little by little, it covered the warrior and the maiden with snow. The same thing happened, far from there, with Teuhtli, whose melting summit became a source source for the Chalco and Xochimilco lakes. The era of the second Sun began.
The enemy against whom Teuhtli and Popocatepetl fought, was the god Tezcatlipoca transformed into one or more tigers , who “finished them off and ate, of which there was none left” of the members of this race of giants, who in ancient times populated the world."
Outside of legends, you also have it where the residents of Milpa Alta will climb the volcano from what I was told for every Dia de la Santa Cruz on May 3rd for some religious event.
There are likely other factors that play into the importance of this volcano.
And, during my month stay in Milpa Alta, I tried climbing it in the middle of December.
There are different paths that you can take to climb to the top and we'll cover my experience here.
To keep it short before getting into the details, I found it to be a massive pain in the ass and very difficult to get to the top.
Let's get to it.
Arriving to Teuhtli Volcano from Milpa Alta
First, I was living in the town of Santa Ana at the time.
Took a taxi to Villa Milpa Alta to have a pambazo.
Then found a taxi to take me to Teuhtli Volcano.
From Villa Milpa Alta, you'll have to go to the street known as Blvd. Nuevo Leon Ote. and, once you're on that street, you'll be turning north onto a street called Calle Tlaxcala Norte.
From there, it's just a straight ride north until you reach some road that, for us, was blocked.
But you don't have to go down the blocked road from my understanding because there's a road to the side that you'll walk down that is between some nopal fields.
Here is a photo on Google Maps of where exactly my taxi driver took me.
It's that green line that is the path to the top and the one I took at first.
Here are some photos of the surrounding area when you get there.
Out of all of the workers in the area, nobody said anything to me or looked at me funny when I began the walk from that end.
Some people say you need to ask for permission to access the volcano from ejido workers but that wasn't my experience on this side of the volcano.
Also, if you're not sure how to get to this volcano anyhow despite the directions provided here, know your taxi driver in Villa Milpa Alta will probably know anyhow since so many people in Milpa Alta have climbed this volcano apparently and a lot of people know where it is.
Anyway, I began the hike from this side first.
How was it?
Hiking Teuhtli Volcano from Milpa Alta
Online, you'll see people saying it's a very easy hike and should only take 30 minutes.
You also have others who say it is a pain in the ass and can take a few hours.
I'd agree with the first group of people under normal circumstances because the volcano isn't very big and the path isn't very long.
But it can definitely take a few hours in my experience in December.
Here is a photo of the beginning of the hike. This is the point at the beginning of that skinny green line you saw in the Google Maps photo above.
Once you get past the small, third world looking building that you see in the first photo, you'll see this here.
It's OK for the next 20 seconds.
Then you'll start to see why it's such a PAIN IN THE ASS to climb this fucking volcano on this path.
In the photo included, it looks easy, doesn't it?
The issue I found was that it was literally impossible to take one step forward without the other foot sliding backwards more distance than you cover with the first step.
Basically, the ground underneath you is at such a steep climb and at a certain angle with the ground beneath you being made of sand and a bunch of small pebbles that you'll be digging your feet into.
You don't want to wear tennis shoes like I did for this hike because a shit ton of rocks will be getting inside them.
Actually, the rocks ended up tearing a mini hole into one of my shoes (they are a few years old though).
It got so difficult trying to climb early on without sliding backwards that I tried climbing on the side of the path where the ground looked sturdier.
That was true but it proved impossible to climb from that side early on because I eventually reached some nopal blocking the path.
Also, I'm not sure I can recommend you do what I did there because I read after the fact that there are snakes and scorpions outside of the main path up.
Didn't see any but supposedly they are there.
Anyway, back on the main path, I literally found it impossible to keep climbing up with doing something to address my feet sliding backwards.
There was a point where I legit could not take another step upwards no matter how hard I tried because I'd keep slipping back more distance.
To where I'm on my fucking knees, hands into the rocks and just yelled out in frustration "FUCK! FUCK THIS PLACE!!!"
Tommy takes a test - Shawshank Redemption
And, at the bottom, were some Mexican nopal workers who probably heard the shouting in the distance and thought "quein es eso weeeeey? la llorona?"
Sweating and trying to figure out a solution, it came to my attention to just grab two big rocks and use them as something to cling onto.
Dig them into the ground deep enough and then take my steps forward before digging them again for the next steps forward.
It still was a massive pain to even just go up 10 feet but it finally became possible to climb upwards without slipping backwards more distance than I could go forward.
And there were little islands along the path up -- firm rocks build into the path or trees -- that I would tell myself "we're not taking the next break until we reach that point."
In the end, it took me maybe an hour and a half to reach this point in the path.
From what I researched ahead of time, I must've been about half way there more or less to the top.
However, by the time I reached another tree that you can see my view from here, I thought to myself "fuck this shit, there must be an easier path."
Some of you might even be thinking "maybe you took the wrong trail?"
But my taxi driver told me that he went up this path before. Others I know told me the same (including some nopal worker at the bottom that I asked before climbing if this was the path).
What annoyed me more than anything was thinking about all the old people and fat people that are in less physical condition than I am that managed to get to the top.
Like my taxi driver.
I began to wonder if I'm just going up at the wrong season because there's no fucking way an old grandma can supposedly get up here for her May 3rd event if I'm having trouble falling backwards with every fucking step.
By the time I got to the tree space mentioned before, I did see a path to the side of the regular path I was on that looked stable and almost like it was made for someone to climb up.
I contemplated going down that path but, after going down it briefly, I didn't see it taking me anywhere.
So I returned to the tree and thought to myself that maybe I'd have better luck trying another route up.
After all, I did watch some Youtube videos before doing this.
There's a few other videos out there too.
In all of them, it looked like nobody was struggling to go up the trail without slipping backwards.
At least not as much as I was.
Had I kept going that day, I'm positive I would've made it but only after another 2 fucking hours of struggling to even climb 10 feet every few minutes.
Which was really starting to piss me off more than anything that climbing something as little as 10 feet is some big ol' challenge.
So I figured maybe I'd have better luck on another path and decided to descend looking for it.
One positive thing I will say though is that, from the vantage point I did have, the views were pretty nice anyhow as you can see here.
Anyway, I went down and had my taxi driver waiting for me actually while I climb to the top.
Was only something like 80 pesos an hour for him to wait for me based on what the meter was showing.
Then I had him drive me to another point that I knew could take me to the top.
Here's also a pic of the cross on top of the volcano.
Climbing Teuhtli Volcano From the Xochimilco Side
From this side, we had to get on a road called "Cam. 3 Nopales" that took us to a place on Google Maps called "Caseta Cueva del Coyote."
By that point, there was a building with some men at the entrance that wanted to know why we wanted to drive down this road.
This must've been where people say "you got to ask for permission from ejido people."
Not sure if they were ejido people but I'm guessing so.
They were friendly anyhow and understanding that I'm just going to see the volcano.
I even heard online from some reviews that they've let people camp out in this area.
Anyway, the guy at the entrance told the taxi that he won't be allowed to leave unless I'm with him to make sure nobody stays behind.
Which is funny to think about in hindsight because what could've stopped me from climbing to the top and descending from the first path I described where I'd be going into Milpa Alta and far from him?
Anyway, we drive down the road and reach this point here.
At the end of it, there was a point where I had to walk and choose which of two paths to go down.
And my taxi driver said that either point apparently leads to the volcano but I took the one to the left.
Here's more pictures of the walk.
You'll eventually arrive to a point that takes you to the right and off the path that you'll see yourself on Google Maps.
And here's more of that path going to the right.
Past that horse, you'll have soon have a choice for 2 different paths from what I saw.
I took the one that Google Maps seem to indicate would take me to the top of the volcano.
Not sure if the other path would have but I guess it probably would.
Anyway, here's a pic of the path going from this side.
All the way to this point, it was a very easy walk with stable ground.
Past the horse though and onto the path I took, it soon resembled the first path I mentioned from the Milpa Alta side.
With all the sand and little rocks that keep making you fall backwards and where you can't even stand up properly to walk up.
What's really annoying is that, based on Youtube videos I saw like this one here, other people have no problem standing up nearly straight and getting up there.
That was not my experience.
What the fuck?
From what I read online, supposedly it's easier to climb up during rainy season.
Not sure if that is true.
But I also wouldn't want to be rained on obviously during this hike.
Bring an umbrella.
The rainy season is also when supposedly the hike is more visually pleasing and green.
Anyway, from this side, I'll say again that this part of the path gets harder to walk upwards as you keep slipping down more distance than you can walk up.
I grabbed two rocks again to cling onto by digging them into the ground and managed to get about 10 feet from the top.
Here's a photo from the view by that point in the hike. Pretty good views.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish the hike up top.
The ground, as you can see here, is more firm (kinda) but at an angle that kept making me slip backwards.
To the point I actually fell onto the rocks and hurt my arm a little bit.
But nothing too bad.
Tried again and grabbed onto some branch that was firm to help me force my way to the top but it just wasn't enough because you have nothing to grab onto past that branch.
So close but so far away.
Literally the top was right fucking there.
I could see it!
But I kept falling and gave up on it.
"Fuck this shit" I thought to myself.
I've hiked plenty of mountains and volcanoes before in other countries like Guatemala but nothing as bad as this one.
With only 500 some pesos on hand, I ultimately had to descend because I knew I was not going to have enough time for the taxi driver to keep waiting if I had chosen to go up the other path I mentioned.
Like I said, it's kinda annoying I didn't get to the top.
I don't like losing.
And I don't like the idea that my fat taxi driver was able to get to the top and normal grandmas can get to the top on May 3rd and random Youtubers can stand up straight climbing the top but I couldn't.
The fuck did I do wrong?
Like I said, maybe it has to do with the season when you go up (such as the rainy season being better maybe).
Perhaps there's another path I could've taken.
Out of the two, which was easier?
I found the second to be easier as the distance going up that fucked up path is shorter than the trail you got to go up on the Milpa Alta side.
So less time needed clinging onto rocks to force yourself from slipping backwards.
If I had anything to grab onto for that last 10 feet, I would've made it up.
Or if I had the patience to climb another 2 hours from the Milpa Alta side (even though some people say it takes only 30 minutes, WHAT THE FUCK).
In the future, I might try hiking this again as I don't like giving up.
More the time to double down on dumb shit like this.
And also figure out how the fuck people get up in only 30 minutes.
What do they know that I don't know?
Do I need to do a prayer to the Aztec Gods to figure out the secret?
In the long run, I'm not going back solo though.
Probably will do it on May 3rd when you got others doing it supposedly.
If old grandma types climb up the volcano for their Day of the Cruz event, then I'm sure they are taking a path or doing it during a season that is easier.
And where you don't have to cling onto rocks to not slip backwards more feet than you are going up.
Either go with them on May 3rd anyhow or take some tour guide as apparently there's some tour companies that organize it also.
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
I'm taking the L for now but will take the W later.
Here's my L in all its glory.
I don't own this image.
If you got anything to add, anyhow, drop a comment below.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.