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The Cerro de Xochitepec is among the best-known of the monogenetic volcanos in Mexico City. Today it’s a protected environmental area and a great resource for those looking for an escape from too much city. Technically, it’s a “sierra,” a range of four peaks. The highest of these rises to 2,495 meters above sea level.
The mountain is also an important site for religious pilgrimages. This comes to a head each May 3rd, when residents of Santa Cruz Xochitepec take to the summit to replace the giant cross that represents a focal point for their annual festival. The tradition has been observed going back some 400 years.
The town is directly east of the tallest summit. To the west is the Colegio Militar in Tlalpan, at least nominally in the town of San Andrés Totoltepec. To the north, one can see a great deal of Mexico City. Immediately north of the mountain is Santa María Tetepan. To the southwest one can take in the Ajusco mountain range. To the east and southeast are the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. On a clear day, one can take in these peaks far off on the border between the states of Puebla and Morelos.
Most hikers intent on scaling the Cerro de Xochitepec will arrive through Santa Cruz Xochitepec. From the Xochimilco Light Rail (La Noria station), the walk takes about 30 minutes. A taxi will make the trip in about ten.