Piedra del Sol Cordillera

Only for fit, confident, high-intermediate riders. See Craft, Culture and Cuisine Ride for a less demanding ride.

This progressive ride circumnavigates the the impressive cordillera that rises above the interior highlands and separates the valley of Tlacolula from the Valley of Ocotlan to the east. Ride out from Rancho Pitaya to the east passing through small villages nestled among traditional farmlands. Horse-drawn carts, shepherds grazing their livestock, towering cacti and age-old trails describe this ride in a nutshell. Visit craftspeople, stay in proud, native Zapotec villages and explore a pre-hispanic archeological site.
This ride is only appropriate for those comfortable mounting without assistance, leading their horse down trails and posting a rising trot for up to 10 minutes at a time, brisk canters with soft hands and English reining.

  • Approximate hours of riding: 1 day of 8 hours, 4 days of 4 to 6 hours and 2 days of 2 hours.
  • Horses: Ride fit, steady horses that love their job! Arabian, Arabian crosses & Mexican Criollo horses.
  • Tack: Comfy Endurance and English saddles with sheepskin pads and shock absorbing padded stirrups.
  • Trail riding instruction available.
  • Weight Limit: 220 lbs / 100 kilos
  • Maximum of 4 riders
  • Alternative dates: Parties of 2 or more, feel free to inquire about alternative dates for suit your travel time.

Logistics note: We ride light as a support vehicle will move luggage to the next destinations. Most days the support team meets riders and horses with a proper tailgate lunch.

Day 1:
Afternoon arrival at Rancho Pitaya. Short test ride into the traditional farmlands to be sure tack, horses and riders are all sorted out.
Day 2:
Ride from Rancho Pitaya to ecotourism cabins in Zapotec community of San Miguel del Valle. Cross the valley of Tlacolula from the western edge to the northeast corner. Stop for lunch at the home of Zapotec weavers - you may want to buy a hand-woven rug. The ride ends in scrub oak forests with giant views of the Sierra Juarez. Brechas (single track agricultural lanes) lead to a spring-fed wetland. Ride the final approach to the Zapotec village of San Miguel del Valle along an ancient trail flanked by huge, old candelabra cacti and native agaves. Approx. 35 km.
Day 3:
Be packed. The ride progresses south from the cabins along the slopes of Diaz Ordaz’s traditional farmlands before turning east to ascend a bucolic mesa studded with small trails, springs, Coyote agaves, pasturelands and grazing cattle. The route nips into oak forests before a meandering descent along a very old camino real. The last hour of the ride skirts the town of Mitla. Arrive at a lovely compound with comfortable guest rooms and space for the horses. Explore on foot the village, the famed pre-hispanic ruins and the innumerable craft stalls. Approx. 32 km.
Day 4:
Early start. Today’s ride is the longest - about 50 kms., traversing north to south the valley of Tlacolula. Caminos reales (the road made by the Spaniards) lead south out of this valley, and agricultural lanes welcome horses and riders into the valley of Ocotlan. The footing is good for moving out among the rolling hills covered in agave plantations. At the village of Yaxe, a continual ascent to the south signals oak forests once again. At a lone Ocote pine, the route veers off from the dirt road to pick up an old trail, a very busy passage in the 19th century mining boom. The trail descends to the broad Rio San Antonio and brings new fascinating native flora until we cross the river studded with massive Moctezuma Bald Cypress trees. The final ascent climbs La Mano de Diablo ( Hand of the Devil ) trail , so named for the petroglyphs we stop to see. The red dome of Hacienda Guegorene’s chapel peeks out over the canopy of the dry, tropical forest and guided us to the end of this ride day. Go ahead and unpack; two nights are spent at Guegorene. Approx. 50 kms.
Day 5:
Easy day, we spend another night at the hacienda. Relax over a later breakfast, swim in the spring-fed pool and ride for a couple of hours into a plateau where Old Man cactus thrive, so named for the white beard the new growth wears. Later, tour the palenque of Quiereme Mucho mezcal and relax in this slice of paradise.
Day 6:
Ride west along old mining trails with a major technical portion that crosses the deep ravine of Rio Hondo. After skirting the edge of the village of San Jeromino Taviche, it’s necessary to pick up a dirt road that can see the occasional vehicle, but after 5 kms the route swings between trails and brechas along the edge of Santa Catarina Minas. From here we meander to the old dirt road into Ocotlan, mostly shaded from the afternoon sun. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in the market town of Ocotlan. Depending on arrival time, possible visit to the town's church to see its fanciful façade restored by Ocotlan artist Rodolfo Morales. Approx. 33 km.
Day 7:
Quiet farm lanes zigzag to a significant ascent before traversing a pass to drop back into the valley of Tlacolula. Livestock trails and farm lanes lead north to the tranquil dam of Santa Cecilia. Relax over a fresh sit-down lunch before moving between age-old trails and smooth of caminos great for long canters. Soak up the last views down the length of the great valley on the traditional grazing lands before arriving back at Rancho Pitaya and the conclusion of the ride. Overnight at ranch. Approx. 39 km.
Day 8:
Breakfast at leisure.

NOTE: The above is only a suggested itinerary. There are endless trails, routes and destinations, some more appropriate from one season to the next. The pace of the ride can be adjusted according the the ability and fitness of the riders.

  • 7 days of riding
  • 2 excursions
  • 7 nights lodging
  • All meals and drinks: Good, honest food. Rancho Pitaya’s signature fresh salads and homemade baking will supplement local specialities to ensure tasty and varied meals. For most lunches the supply vehicle will meet riders for scrumptious tailgate feasts. As always there’ll be lots of fresh brewed Oaxaca coffee in the mornings and, artesan mezcal, cold bear and good wine as the sun gets low.
  • Personal guide, fluent in English & Spanish
  • Arrival & departure transfers from the ranch to airport or city hotel.
  • Not included: Massages, taxis for additional excursions and delayed flight arrival.
  • Suitable clothing: long pants, long sleeves, covered shoes
  • Water bottle (refills available)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Personal medication

$2950 US per person

Discounts and surcharges

$200 US return rider discount
$200 US early bird discount for full non-refundable payment upon reserving
$150 US single occupancy supplement surcharge

Add $500 US to turn this ride into a Instructional Trail Ride

Notes: Solo riders please inquire about other confirmed participants

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