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Bosque de Ocotal

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Bosque de Ocotal_forest
Photo: Carlos Valenzuela on Wikimedia Commons

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The Bosque de Ocotal, the Ocotal Forest, acts as an unofficial extension of the Desierto de los Leones National Park, not far to the south. The parks name comes from the ocote pines, although there are many oyamel firs, and holm oaks. These were widely planted during the 20th century to cover extensive forest lost to fires.

It’s one of the most accessible truly wild outdoor areas in the city outdoor. The park is crossed by numerous marked trails, and many of them are appropriate for beginners and less experienced hikers.  The running trails extend about 4 km.

Parts of the forest are frequently used by a nearby football camp, and by the nearby banquet and events salons. Needlessly to say, runners and joggers can seem ubiquitous. It’s a very big and inviting forest area and part of the reason Mexico City can still claim to be a natural and outdoors destination.

The park is treasured for the many truly grand specimens of pine. Recent years have seen increasing numbers of “forest bathers” and others interested in the psychological and emotional benefits of exposure to trees.

  • Don’t confuse the Ocotal Forest with the Parque del Ocotal in the State of Mexico. That park is about 2.5 hours away, north of Toluca.
  • The exit from the Toluca Highway reads simply “El Ocotal.” One should check one’s GPS or a digital map on the way and be prepared for the rather abrupt turn off.

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