Picturesque waterfalls in the secluded rain forest await you at the end of La Mina Trail in El Yunque National Forest. Take a beautiful hike through green rain forest, ending at cool waterfalls that tumble 35 feet into crystal clear pools. The trail is one of the most popular in the park, along with Big Tree Trail.
Both the La Mina Trail and Big Tree Trail lead to La Mina Falls (Cascada La Mina), so if you want to take an alternate route to get to the falls, you have your choice. Both hikes take about 40 minutes each way, so plan for several hours including time to enjoy the falls.
La Mina Trail Difficulty
La Mina Trail is rated as “moderate to difficult” due to elevation changes. The path is paved in concrete the entire way, with steps and uneven ground. It can be steep in areas, and is about 1.6 miles round trip. Elevation changes are almost 500 feet throughout the hike.
There are three rain shelters along the trail, with benches for resting. The stone benches are cooled by the shade, and make a great place to catch your breath for less seasoned hikers. Along the trail, signs in Spanish and English point out various educational facts about the forest ecosystem and wildlife. Take your time to look around and listen to the birds and rainforest sounds.
Wildlife is difficult to spot in this area. You will mostly see snails, hummingbirds and butterflies. The trees are mostly younger (15-50 years old) with the occasional older tree that can be up to 300 years old. El Yunque has been cleared a few times from weather and lumbering so it is a younger forest. You will see plenty of green mosses and ferns, orchids and bromeliads.
As you walk, you can hear water from the springs throughout the forest, as you cross it a few times until you reach the falls. Finally you reach the end – La Mina Falls. There is a bridge crossing the falls and to your right, the big cascade ends in several clear pools surrounded by smooth rocks.
You can also climb from the bridge to the left to reach the lower (less populated) pools further down. Take your shoes off and rest a little, take a dip into the cool waters and watch the fun.
What to Wear
The path and rocks can be slippery, so it advised to wear shoes with good traction, but you will see plenty of locals taking the hike in flip flops. If you plan to take a dip in the falls, bring a swimsuit, towel and a change of clothes.
Temperatures in the park are hot in the summer and can be cool in December through February/March. The water is cold, about 60 to 65 degrees F.
What to Know
- This is the most popular trail in the park and can be crowded, especially at the falls.
- Expect lots of tourists during the winter months, and more locals going for a swim in the summer
- This trail is challenging, and can be difficult for many people
- Be prepared to step off the trail and steps to allow people to pass as they go the other way-or pass you by if you walk too slow
Follow Route 3 to Rio Grande. Then follow Route 955 to Road 191. Turn onto Road 191
La Mina trail starts from directly behind the Palo Colorado Visitors center at KM 12.2 on Road 191. There are two parking lots here, and a good amount of designated parking along the road.
El Yunque, La Mina Falls: (18.303087, -65.776649)
El Yunque, La Mina Trail: (18.301039, -65.784802)
Free. There is no entrance fee to El Yunque National Forest.
Open daily 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. Closed on Christmas day.
Phone: 787 888-1880