NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION Peña de Bernal is in San Sebastián Bernal in the state of Querétaro, Mexico HEIGHT 1150 ft (350 m)
Around 6 miles (10 km)
Jan: 57°F (14°C); Apr: 68°F (20°C); Jul: 68°F (20°C); Oct: 64°F (18°C)
When Peña de Bernal was formed some 135 million years ago, during the Jurassic period, it was three times the size of the eroded – but still impressive – mountain you see today. This is one of the tallest monoliths in the world, and while it’s a popular attraction for walkers and pilgrims who follow the trail to the chapel halfway up the mountain, the vertical route to the summit is the domain of expert rock climbers. The inhabitants of San Sebastián Bernal believe that the rock bestows a calming and life-enhancing energy to those living in its shadow.
Each year at the spring equinox the villagers take part in an ancient ritual that involves dressing in white and forming a human chain around part of the monolith. There is also a five-day Christian festival here every May. This event culminates in a procession of villagers who bear a 100-lb (45-kg) cross to the mountain chapel, from where climbers carry it on to the summit.
Getting There The best way to get to Peña de Bernal is to rent a car in Mexico City. Take Highway 57 northwest for 120 miles (200 km) toward Querétaro and then go east for 30 miles (50 km) to San Sebastián Bernal, which lies at the base of the mountain.
When to Go The weather is good at any time of year.