Hiking Trails in El Yunque after Hurricane Maria

In February Renée and I went out for a quick drive with our dogs to see how the work is going in the central area of El Yunque and found some areas open. Now in October 2018 there are even more trails open. Our two favourite hikes the El Toro Peak trail and the La Coca trail are open. Of course our private trail is open too and our guests have been doing that (with great fun) and we have a video about our trail posted right after we cleared it: youtube video here.  Our private “Lost Machete” trail has two forks now so you can explore more pools and waterfalls. There is even a spot to pitch hammocks.

 Relaxing on the Rainforest Inn’s “Lost Machete” Trail. We furnish hammocks (just ask).

Relaxing on the Rainforest Inn’s “Lost Machete” Trail. We furnish hammocks (just ask).

We went across to route 191 using the short-cut from the Rainforest Inn on route 9966. It only took about fifteen minutes to arrive at La Coca falls. At the La Coca falls bridge there were two security guards who had a lot of helpful information as well as photos of the work being done. This was as far as they will let tourists to go up 191 in March but now you can go up route 191 to the La Coca trailhead and to Yokahu Tower.

 Everyone takes a "selfie" at La Coca Falls!

Everyone takes a "selfie" at La Coca Falls!

After visiting La Coca falls we went on over to Angelito Trail which is the only "easy" hike that is open now. The trail is very short and you can see from the following photos how wide the trail is. The Angelito Trail is closed temporarily while they build a bridge over a little stream (this trail seems to be intended as nearly passable for the disabled as I can envision, after the bridge is repaired, a really rugged wheel chair making it with someone strong pushing it).

 The trailhead for Angelito Trail. Gracie and Simonne are patiently waiting while we talk to the guard.

The trailhead for Angelito Trail. Gracie and Simonne are patiently waiting while we talk to the guard.

 You can see how easy the trail is. It is very wide and smooth.

You can see how easy the trail is. It is very wide and smooth.

We follow El Yunque Forest Service on twitter and in one of their recent posts they talked about Angelito trail saying it was "partially" open. I was worried about that but it turns out that they mean the bridge over a little stream on the way in is out (and now in October they are repairing that). 

 The little bridge is out but it is no trouble crossing on the rocks

The little bridge is out but it is no trouble crossing on the rocks

The forest service tries to make everything as easy as possible. The trails that they open are well marked and cleared. My favourite trail is the El Toro peak trail and that one was closed for years well before hurricane Maria (even though many people still hiked it) because it is decidedly not an easy trail. Our "Lost Machete" hike is also fairly difficult with scrambling arroyo crossings in places and lots of slippery mud. And now the La Coca trail is open and that one is muddy in places and it is even possible to get lost. Our guests at the RainforestInn tend to be adventure travellers who love our suggestions for long hikes that aren’t easy so lucky for us there are adventurous hikes for us to recommend!

 The forest service has put in excellent portable bathrooms everywhere as well as places to wash your hands. But no garbage cans so remember to bring your own garbage bags.

The forest service has put in excellent portable bathrooms everywhere as well as places to wash your hands. But no garbage cans so remember to bring your own garbage bags.

 Nice bench at half-way point on the Angelito Trail so that Simonne and Gracie could rest.

Nice bench at half-way point on the Angelito Trail so that Simonne and Gracie could rest.

 Refreshing deep swimming hole at the end of Angelito Trail

Refreshing deep swimming hole at the end of Angelito Trail