How Many Waterfalls Are In El Yunque National Forest

Summary: El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico is home to a variety of hiking trails, but the waterfall hike is one of the most popular. This trail takes hikers through lush forests and streams, leading to stunning waterfalls that are perfect for swimming and photography.

1. Getting There

The El Yunque National Forest is located about an hour’s drive from San Juan. Visitors can take Route 3 to reach the entrance of the park. There is a fee to enter the park, which helps support conservation efforts. Once inside, hikers can choose from a variety of trails, including the waterfall hike.

The waterfall hike begins at the Palo Colorado Information Center, where visitors can obtain maps and information about the trail. The trailhead is marked with a sign, and the hike begins with a gentle uphill climb through the forest.

The total distance of the hike is about 1.5 miles each way, and it takes about 2 hours to complete. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, even for novice hikers.

2. The Trail

The first part of the trail is relatively easy, with a gradual incline through the forest. Hikers will pass by streams, bamboo groves, and a variety of tropical plants and flowers. The trail is shaded by trees, making it a pleasant hike even on hot days.

As hikers continue along the trail, they will encounter steeper sections and rocks that require some scrambling. The trail can be slippery, so it is important to wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction.

The final stretch of the trail leads to the waterfall, which is fed by a gushing stream. The waterfall is surrounded by large rocks and boulders, making it a perfect spot for a picnic or a refreshing swim.

3. Swimming and Safety

Swimming under the waterfall is a highlight of the hike, but it is important for hikers to be aware of the potential dangers. The rocks can be slippery, and the current can be strong, so it is important to exercise caution and stay close to the shore.

Hikers should also be mindful of the weather, as heavy rain can cause flash flooding in the streams and waterfalls. It is always a good idea to check the weather forecast before embarking on the hike, and to exercise caution if there has been recent rain.

As with any outdoor activity, hikers should bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray. It is also recommended to wear lightweight, breathable clothing that can wick away sweat and keep hikers cool.

4. Best Time to Hike

The best time to hike the waterfall trail is in the morning, when the weather is cooler and the trail is less crowded. Weekdays are also less busy than weekends, so hikers who have the flexibility to choose their day should consider visiting during the week.

The trail is open year-round, but the best time to visit is from December to April, when the weather is less humid and there is less chance of rain. During the summer months, the trail can be hot and muggy, so hikers should be prepared with plenty of water and sunscreen.

It is important for hikers to be respectful of the natural environment and to follow Leave No Trace principles, which means packing out all trash and minimizing damage to plants and wildlife.


The El Yunque National Forest waterfall hike is a must-do activity for visitors to Puerto Rico. With its stunning scenery, refreshing swimming holes, and easy accessibility, it is an ideal trail for hikers of all skill levels. With a little preparation and caution, hikers can enjoy the beauty of this tropical paradise while maintaining its ecological integrity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *