7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
Itatiaia National Park, established in 1937, is the oldest national park in Brazil.
It is located on the border between the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. It is mountainous and rocky, with altitudes ranging from 540 to 2,791 metres (1,772 to 9,157 ft).
The highest point is the Black Needles Peak (Pico das Agulhas Negras).
The higher part of the park contains the origins of 12 river basins that supply the Rio Grande (Grand River).
The lower part of the park has lush Atlantic Forest vegetation and wide rivers with natural pools and waterfalls. The park attracts bird watchers from all over the world with its 350 species of birds.
Other attractions include hiking and rock climbing.
The park is surrounded by the Serra da Mantiqueira Environmental Protection Area, which provides an ecological buffer zone for the park. Other attractions are Altar Stone (Pedra do Altar), Hermes Wings (Asa de Hermes), Aiurouca Waterfall (Cachoeira do Aiurouca), and Bell Stone (Pedra do Sino), shown in this GPS. This trail can be done in two days by sleeping at Rebouças camping, which can be booked in advance on the park's website. It's important to mention that the climb in Black Needles and Hermes Wings is very dangerous, and a fall can be fatal, so you need to hire a guide or know how to use ropes, harnesses, and carabiners to protect yourself.