Two days are plenty to explore the Chapada. Even if you only have a day, you can still see the "best of the Chapada" -- take in the magnificent views, frolic in a few waterfalls, and get some hiking in, all before sunset.
Note: Due to park maintenance, some areas of the park are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, at the time this of this writing, trails to Cidade de Pedras and Morro São Jerônimo were closed, but were expected to reopen soon. Check with the park administration office (tel. 065/3301-1133) or ask at your pousada.
Hiking Tips -- Wear high-top shoes or boots -- not sandals -- as the rocks and sand are perfect spots for snakes (some may be poisonous). Be careful when sitting down and putting your hands on the rocks.
All times are one-way for the hikes listed below. Trail heads have sizable parking lots, but on weekends the sights closest to town can get crowded. There is no public transportation in the park or surrounding area.
Cachoeira Veu de Noiva -- The tallest waterfall in the park is the gorgeous Véu de Noiva. The trail head is at the park visitor center, about 15km (9 miles) from the town of Chapada dos Guimarães. From the visitor center it is a short and obvious walk to the lookout (closed on Tues).
Mirante da Geodesia -- This lookout marks the geodesic center of Brazil. The spot also happens to mark a fabulous lookout over the lowlands below the Chapada, with Cuiabá in the distance. Short trails below the lookout take you down some of the cliffs with more views. The parking lot lies 8km (5 miles) east of the town of Chapada dos Guimarães.
Cidade de Pedras -- The City of Stone is named after the beautiful eroded rock formations that look like the ruins of buildings. A short hike takes you through these rocks to the edge of a canyon, where the sheer cliffs drop 350m (1,148 ft.) straight down. To reach the trail head, go west from town on MT-251 for about 2km (1 1/4 miles), turn right (there's a small sign), and follow the smaller, rougher blacktop road straight on for 13km (8 miles). See note above.
Paredão do Eco -- A 20-minute hike takes you to the edge of a mini Grand Canyon. Steep cliff walls and eroded rocks in various shapes form an amazing pattern, and on the far side where the walls are the steepest and sheerest you can often spot scarlet red araras (macaws). At sunrise and sunset the light bathes the rocks in a warm red glow. To reach the trail head, follow the same directions for Cidade de Pedra, above. About 12km (7 1/2 miles) along the blacktop road, take the left turn on a dirt road and follow it for 3km (2 miles).
Morro São Jerônimo -- The highest point in the Chapada, this tabletop mountain can be reached by a 4-hour hike. Bring water and sunscreen. The trail for the Morro begins at the visitor center parking lot. The peak is almost due south, but trails are poorly marked. Follow the signs to Cachoeira Véu de Noiva, then to Casa de Pedra, and then to Morro São Jerônimo. See note above.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.