Rio Toachi Canyon

A rugged testament to nature’s artistry, carves its serpentine path through Ecuador’s verdant landscape, offering adventurers a thrilling journey into its depths.

Exploring the canyon presents a couple options.  Hikes begin by following road and trails from Black Sheep Inn down to the Rio Toachi river.  Then at the town of Itualo, you can choose to go left (downstream) or right (upstream).

The downstream trail makes for an easier hike (3-5 hours total) that leads to the suspension bridge.  From the bridge you can connect with a road that leads back upwards to the Mission Workshop at Chinalo, where you can check out their showroom of hand-carved furniture.  This round trip trail is also a good choice to do on horseback.

The upstream trail is a bit more challenging (4 -6 hours total).  It follows the Rio Toachi upstream to the tributary river, Rio Sihui.  From there the trail follows Rio Sihui upstream through a lovely uninhabited stretch (a bit of bushwacking and river crossing is sometimes necessary) and emerge at the base of the farmland hills that lead back to Chugchilán and the Black Sheep Inn.

The land rising from the canyon features four distinct climates in a ten kilometer radius.

Climate 1 — At the bottom of the canyon (2600 meters, 8500 feet elevation), tropical trees such as avocado and citrus grow.

Climate 2 — The Black Sheep Inn (3200 meters, 10,500 feet elevation) still has a large variety of trees, lush grassy areas and we can grow leafy greens for organic salads.

Climate 3 — The high paramó (3500 meters, 11,500 feet elevation & above) is an exposed alpine grassland, mostly above the tree line.

Climate 4 — on the other side of the paramó, as the elevation drops off 3000 meters or 10,000 feet, there is dense jungle and Cloud Forest.

Related Activities

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Frisbee Golf

Frisbee golf offers a fun and active way to enjoy the outdoors while honing hand-eye coordination and strategic thinking skills.

Relaxing Massage

A relaxing massage provides relief from stress and tension, promoting relaxation, improved circulation, and overall well-being.


The practice of yoga promotes physical strength, mental clarity, and emotional well-being, fostering a harmonious balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Sauna and Hot Tub

Some people say that the Finnish sauna is for cleaning the body, and the Native American sweat dome for ritualistic purification. 

Local Markets

Andean tradition thrives in this area and local markets provide many opportunities to observe how people have been trading for thousands of years

Mountain Bikes

Biking at altitude 3200 meters (10,500 feet), in thin air, with the landscape’s dramatic contours, is a challenge for most riders.  Yet we recommend a few downhill bike rides.
Horseback Riding Quilotoa

Horseback Riding

You can walk or gallop across the high paramó, descend steeply into the canyon, or take a relaxing ride out onto the plateau.

Guantualo Market and Isinlivi

Alive with vibrant colors and bustling activity, immerses visitors in the rich tapestry of Ecuadorian culture, offering a sensory feast of sights, sounds, and flavors.

Iliniza Cloud Forest

In the heart of Ecuador’s Andean region, the Iliniza Cloud Forest blankets the landscape with a lush tapestry of biodiversity, shrouded in mist and mystery.

Ridge Hike

Black Sheep Inn is located part way up a mountain ridge.  Hiking up to the top of the ridge above the inn takes about 25 minutes. 

Canyon Plateau

The Canyon Plateau stands as a majestic expanse of sculpted rock and winding rivers, a testament to the relentless forces of erosion over millennia.
Views of Toachi river canyon

Rio Toachi Canyon

A rugged testament to nature’s artistry, carves its serpentine path through Ecuador’s verdant landscape, offering adventurers a thrilling journey into its depths.
Quilotoa Lagoon Ecuador Trekking

Quilotoa Lagoon

Carved out by a powerful volcanic eruption over 800 years ago, this azure jewel cradled within the crater’s embrace captivates all who behold its beauty.