El Pahuma

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El Pahuma Orchid Reserve
Sendero de Los Yumbos
(Yumbo Trail)

Deeply worn Yumbo Trail Walking the Yumbo Trail

Deeply worn into the mud in some places and carved into rock in others, the well-trodden Yumbo trail was used by indigenous groups for trade between the Andes and the Pacific coast, before the arrival of the Spanish.  The trail traverses the high ridgeline in the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, over 2600 m (8600 feet) high in pristine cloud forest.  The feet of thousands of men and women, bearing heavy loads, gradually eroded the narrow trail down into the deep trench it is today.  Presently, the Yumbo Trail is well over 3 m (10 feet) deep in several areas. The vertical walls are encrusted with ferns and mosses, and fallen logs occasionally form a roof over the trail, creating a veritable tunnel through the earth.

Visitors to El Pahuma can hike on several kilometers of the original trail, which affords spectacular views of the valleys on either side.  Sadly, beyond the reserve boundaries pasture has overtaken much of the region's native forest, and the Yumbo trail has disappeared from sight in many areas.  Help us to sponsor research on the former travelers of the trade route, and to conserve lands that still protect portions of the original trail.

View from ridgetop


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