Rio Toachi Canyon

A spectacular testament to the forces of nature, etched deep into the heart of Ecuador’s terrain, enchants with its vast expanse and rugged grandeur, inviting exploration and contemplation

The headwaters of the Rio Toachi (river) start just above the town of Zumbahua.  The river cuts a dramatic canyon through loose volcanic ash east of the Quilotoa Volcano and dramatically divides our area. Every time you cross the canyon there are spectacular views. The river winds all the way down to the coastal plain, joining the Rio Esmeraldas before draining into the Pacific Ocean.

From the front door of the Black Sheep Inn you can enjoy several day hikes along and down into the canyon.  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 Destinations

Local Indigenous Markets

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

Local People

Traditional techniques of farming, building and animal husbandry are still in use.

Cheese Factory – in the high paramó

Local people were unable to transport fresh milk to the larger cities, the project built a cheese factory using Swiss techniques

Iliniza Cloud Forest

A lush realm of biodiversity draped in mist, where verdant foliage thrives amidst swirling clouds, offering a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna.

Chinalo Furniture Workshop

About two kilometers down the road from Black Sheep Inn is the community of Chinalo, where the Don Bosco Mission is located.

Canyon Plateau

A sprawling expanse of dramatic cliffs and rugged terrain, sculpted by the hands of time, offering a glimpse into Earth’s geological history and captivating the adventurous spirit within.

Rio Toachi Canyon

A spectacular testament to the forces of nature, etched deep into the heart of Ecuador’s terrain, enchants with its vast expanse and rugged grandeur, inviting exploration and contemplation

Ilinizas Twin Peaks

The iconic twin peaks stand as a breathtaking geological marvel, captivating adventurers and scientists alike with their rugged beauty and unique formation.

Cotopaxi Volcano

Iconic Andean volcano, Cotopaxi, stands sentinel with its snow-capped peak, symbolizing both beauty and danger.

Laguna Quilotoa

Lake Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic crater lake located at 3800 meters (12,400 feet) between the towns of Zumbahua and Chugchilán.