Elevation: 6,836 ft
GPS: 20.728, -99.958 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 27,537 total · 205/month
Shared By: manuel rangel on Mar 13, 2008 with updates from Gunkswest and 1 other
Admins: Mauricio Herrera Cuadra


This volcanic monolith consists of a hard rhyolite rock resulting in great edges and chickenheads. It is located at the town of Bernal, and so is the approach trail. It is popular with hikers and climbers alike. The slabby east face is long and fun and the NE side has a via ferrata winding to the top, making for a fun downclimb. More info can be found on xpmexico.com

Getting There

From the town of Queretaro, drive towards Mexico City along Hwy 57 to the exit marked: Pena de Bernal. Take this road for @ 30 min to the town and the Pena is plainly visible, wander to the back of town to a parking lot and the approach trail. Hike @ 15 minutes to the slabby east face or wander to the backside routes along the rock face of choice.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Peña de Bernal

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a little more beta, for those who find themselves wandering the central mexico rock scene. once you get to bernal, attempt the maze of uphill side streets until you find yourself at the base of the rock. a few pesos will pay the parking fees.

the via ferrata descent probably feels like 4th class on the way up, but on the way down it might get your attention if you're not on top of things. its not a via ferrata with cables, protection, etc. mostly a seriously fun down-monkeying with fattie rungs through most (but not all) of the steep sections. a 60m rope will protect the entire climbing section if you want a belayed-downclimb, or you can rappel from chains at the slabby (crux?) beginning of the descent. there is an intermediate station if rap straight down, so im assuming you could rap with one rope, but i havent tried.

i found the climbing similar to classic moderate red rock (nv) stuff, plenty of things to hold onto on the gentle climbs i played on, and the rock is solid.

there is plenty of beta (in spanish) on xpmexico.com.
click on (respectively) roca: guias, querataro, pena de bernal Dec 24, 2008
Ventura, CA
krispyyo   Ventura, CA
There's also great bouldering around the base of this. The "via ferreta" is more like low fifth class soloing with a rung every 30 feet or so. Super fun! Dec 7, 2010
Gunkswest   CA
As of 01-2016, you can easily rappel straight down from the top of the via ferreta with a single 60m rope.

As of 01-2016, here's the descent from the summit of Pena de Bernal:
A) From the top of Bernalina, et al, walk past the crosses and then follow an obvious path down and left around a small cliffband.
B) Scramble down right and then left around another small cliffband to a saddle.
C) Carefully descend about 25 vertical feet down a low-angled slab from the saddle to the top of an obvious gully and the top of the via ferreta.
D) Rappel #1: At the top of the via ferreta and gully there are two sets of anchors - glued-in staples and traditional bolts with rings. Rappel straight down from either anchor, about 15-20m to a hanging rap station with traditional rings (there's no ledge at the anchor, so pre-rig some type of daisy chain/PAS so you can safely get off rappel).
E) Rappel #2: Rappel straight down to the base of the existing via ferreta (25-30m).
F) Down-climb some well-worn ledges (the via ferreta rungs are missing) from the base of the via ferreta to gain the main hiking trail.
G) Walk down the main hiking trail about 5-10 minutes to regain the base of Bernalina, et al. Jan 10, 2016
Idaho Bob
McCall, ID
Idaho Bob   McCall, ID
On November 26, 2016 found the anchor "system" for the Bernalina rappel as above, but with all bolts/staples joined to a large pulley. We rapped diagonally left to the Via Feratta, then down a full 30M length. Used Via Feratta rung as anchor. Small ledge for feet. Second rappel full 30M, somewhat diagonally left to one bolt with quicklinks and two staples. From here another full 30M rap ended just above the final large white caution sign at the top of the trail. We rapped in the dark so might have missed other anchors, but this route was easy and gave easy pulls.

Dec 8, 2016
New Paltz, NY
theeinjem   New Paltz, NY
The Summary:
The rock is superb, the town is incredible, and the recommendations made for some of the best days of my life. I left Bernal not only having climbed the most satisfying lines, but having formed a new family and a second home. This place is already amazing but has so much potential for further development. I could see it blowing up as the Potrero alternative in the near future. The trip would not be the same without the help of SouthernXposure. Even if you do not need a guide, I would recommend contacting them for beta on climbs and the area. These guys really care about the place and want to see it enjoyed.


-This is for lack of a better description, one huge rock! This area houses multi pitch, single pitch, bouldering and some beautiful spires for easy free solo missions.
-There was a ton more here Than mountain project suggested, with thoughtful new, well spaced climbs being carefully cleaned and bolted all the time.
-This volcanic intrusion has very good quality rock. The climbs have been cleaned well and we experienced not much rock fall or holds breaking at all.
-Typically, the start of many climbs are slopey and slabby then turn into more edgy chicken heads. My katanas and muiras were the perfect shoe combination.
-There is also some sustained overhang on the El Capitain mini crag/giant boulder very comparable to the red.
- The bouldering is utterly fantastic. There is a great v4 by Tommy Caldwell. There are boulders all over the Chichid'ho property and a guidebook in the communal dining area.
-The spires were a nice surprise. They are currently only bolted at the top for high line, but you can throw some shoes and chalk on in order to scramble to the top of a few. I am most excited for these to be developed.

Multi pitch:
-The big multi pitch climbs are roughly 7pitches, about 35m per pitch. Bring a 70m and use 2 ropes if climbing in a party of 3. The routes wander, so be sure to get good beta from locals or keep a keen eye out for anchors when getting to the half way of the rope. Radios were helpful due to the wind and the wandery nature of the routes. Bernalina was beautiful and stress free. Pure gold. King Kong is a 10b on the back side and is one of the coolest routes I have seen. (Big chimney/tunnel for a few pitches).

Single pitch:
-There are quite a few new, single pitch routes near King Kong that are totally beautiful and very fun. Message Southern Xposure for beta. I believe a new guidebook is coming out soon.
-My group ended up spending many days at the El Capitain mini crag which was a quick walk from camp. There are a ton of routes 5.8 and up with the Peña providing the most beautiful backdrop.

Getting there:
-I would second the recommendation of SE to keep an eye out and fly to Querétaro. It is only 40 minutes and $2 (44 pesos) to get to Peña de Bernal.
-be careful how late you travel from Querétaro to Bernal. The local bus stops running around 9 as well as the taxis.
-Mexico City was cheaper for me to fly to. There are the most incredible busses (Primera Plus) that go straight from the airport to Queratero.
-My group opted to spend New Year's Eve in the historic Zocalo then took a taxi (clearly marked and easy to find) to the Central Norte. $18 (300 pesos)

Town of Bernal:
-"You can take a girl, throw her in the middle of town at 2am in a bikini and she'd be fine"
-The town is safe, clean, welcoming, colorful and thriving. I had no issue as a young female from the United States walking through the town alone at night with all of my luggage.
-the Peña is a big tourist attraction especially during the Christmas/New Years season. There are a ton of street vendors with really cool hand made things.
-Haggling is a blast and you'd be amazed at how low you can get prices. (Wool Blanket for $11/ 250 pesos)

-There is a wonderful fruteria with tons of fresh produce. Very affordable and no stomach issues from fresh fruits or veggies.
-The street food is fantastic. Bernal has some of the best gorditas. I also recommend getting the Elote. It is corn on the cob with mayo, cheese, lime and chili powder.
-The ice cream across the street from Hector's hotel is the ultimate reward after a long day of crushing climbs.

-Simeon of Southern Xposure climbing did an awesome job pairing my group of 20-somethings on a budget with the paradise that is Chichid'ho for camping. This place was truly the highlight of my trip. The peaceful campground is the secret treasure of the area. There has access to sport multipitch, two single pitch sport crags that grow every day and top notch bouldering. You can rent crash pads. Fernando was the ultimate host and he became a good friend very quickly. There is a huge community kitchen, water. showers, bathrooms, tons of hammocks and places where you can camp that are 5 feet from some awesome boulder problems. Getting from town to Chichid'ho is a bit of a hike and difficult to find if you don't know where you are going but absolutely worth it. Besides Bernalina and the 5.7 variation, we did most of our climbing on the back side by Chichid'ho anyway. $8/150 pesos per night.
-The hotels are great too. We arrived late the first day and ended up getting a hotel at Hector's horse farm/house/hotel. Comfortable beds, water, nice showers and a cool place to hang out in the center of town with a 10 min approach to the big climbs. He is a very interesting guy to talk to if you speak Spanish. He is an accomplished hydraulic engineer and owns some amazing artifacts and an extensive library.
-Casa Celia is next door to Hector's and for around the same price I believe they have a hot tub overlooking the Peña.

Chichid'ho: chichidho.com/
SouthernXposure on facebook.
@southernxposure.mx on instagram Jan 9, 2017
A great town. The people are friendly, and there are several hotels that are immaculate and cheap at base of rock. Simeon of southernXposureguides dialed in my whole group from airport pick up, route recommendations, hotels and restaurants. The food was cheap and delicious. No stomach issues for any of our group. The climbing is varied and spectacular. Each route is safely bolted if you stick clip, with different movements on each line even when next to each other. At night a nice town to relax and heal up for another day of climbing. Hotel Casa Celia (Marcos) at base of mountain was clean, hot powerful showers, internet, and breakfast, was great all around. And I am no camper, so I wanted a nice place to chill and the hotel and town exceeded expectations. Even if you do not climb with southernXposure, Simeon will give you all the beta you need for anything. We climbed for three days and saw no other climbers. And new routes are being bolted all the time. Feb 21, 2017
Carol Kotchek
Louisville, Colorado
Carol Kotchek   Louisville, Colorado
Hi all, Just got back from Bernal and climbing on the Pena. We flew into Queretaro and took the bus to Bernal. Cheap but time consuming. You can also take a taxi for around 700 pesos. Don't expect to take the taxi from Bernal back to Queretaro. There is no service going that way. We stayed at Hotel Posada Pena, double room $600 pesos. The owner, Hugo, is super nice and speaks very good English. The contact info for the hotel is hotel_posada_pena@hotmail.com. You can e-mail in English and get a reservation. The town was crazy crowded with Mexican tourists on the week end and a ghost town during the week.
If your feeling lazy you can catch a three wheel taxi at the base of the tourist road that leads up to the Pena. It cost 30 pesos and cuts out some uphill hiking. Especially if your going around the back side to the private land trail.
The Gorditas restaurant on the main square was awesome. 15 pesos for a gordita. They cook the shell from dough at at grill right there and then you have your choice of about 15 fillings which is included in your 15 pesos.
Notice I'm not mentioning much about the climbing since I figure others will fill that info in. Nov 28, 2017
Estes Park, CO
BowieHelm   Estes Park, CO
I have lodging for 4 people that I am NOT going to use. If you want to rent my place (at a "boutique hotel" in town) from Dec 19-27, let me know. Dec 15, 2017
Estes Park, CO
BowieHelm   Estes Park, CO
I spent a week climbing in Bernal and Aculco. It was my girlfriend and we dragged along my 6 year old son. What a badass environment, sweet group of people, great food, and diverse climbing. Everything from "big wall" to cragging to crack climbing near a waterfall. Potrero is out. Queretaro is in. We connected with a local guiding service Southernxposure (Simeon Heimowitz) who has vast knowledge of the area and is really a must-do connnection to make. He can set you up with beta (just wrote a new guidebook), lodging, logistics, advice, and of course guiding services should you use them. Let me know if you have any questions of the area. Jan 9, 2018
Nick Leiby
Alexandria, VA
Nick Leiby   Alexandria, VA

This article (in Spanish) suggests that the local government is adding a fee of 1500 pesos ($75 US) per person per day to climb in Bernal as of 2018-12-22, in addition to the current 30 pesos fee ($1.5 US) for 'general access'.


This followup article says that the fee is currently on hold in response to protests, and will be revisited in January 2019.

If anyone has more permanent information on the status of these fees, we should update the page beyond this temporary beta post.

EDIT: as of 2018-01-21 when I visited, the fee to enter as a climber stood at 30 pesos. Jan 3, 2019 · Temporary Report
March 10, 2019 Correcting an earlier post of mine.
Rapping Bernalina is extremely difficult with one 70m rope. If for any reason it is necessary to retreat from any of the routes on this wall it is best to join 'La Via del Padre's' rap. From Bernalina it would be the obvious line of bolts to the climber's right. One seventy will get climber's to the ground.
From the summit rap the Via Ferrata is the obvious choice. @GunksWest has the beta in this feed. ***** Be extremely careful not to launch rocks while staging at the rap station. Mar 10, 2019