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near San Luis Soyatlán, Jalisco (Mexico)
This hike on the north side of the extinct volcano on the south side of Lake Chapala is difficult because of its length and elevation gain. The trail however is in good shape and the views are excellent. The trail destination is a big cross on a massive concrete base. Be sure to leave Lakeside by 8 in order to return on time.
Driving from the west into the center of San Luis Soyatlan, look for a building, on a SE corner, that has a green lower part and a door at the corner of the building that is at 45 degrees to each wall. There are no street signs. Turn S up this road. At a major cross road, turn right and go a block before turning left toward Cerro Garcia. Follow this road several kilometers south, veering right and then left, until a large dairy farm is reached. Park at the very end of the road being careful to not block any gates or passages. Please get permission from the farm's person-in-change to park and hike over his land. A big gate is locked at 4 PM so you should be back by 3:30 PM to not have your car locked in.
From the end of the road at the dairy, head toward the mountain. The trail is between two high rock walls. Continue S to a major intersection and then turn right. When the rock wall on the left turns sharply toward the mountain, find a significant dirt trail beside it that works its way up on to the ridge. (Do not enter nor cross the major arroyo to the west.) Finally the open nose of the ridge is reached with a good view toward the lake. Don't rest here but continue ten minutes up the crest of the ridge to find a large rock shelf on the right with a superb view - a worthy place to have a substantial break. Afterward, simply continue up the major trail along the ridge, veering over to the left when views open, and finally arrive at the cross. If you have lots of energy left, don't hesitate to follow the trail further south to the top of Garcia. The best views are a little beyond the tower and to the SW. After a good lunch return the way you came. Remember the deadline.