Route: Beach to El Toro summit

Submitted by Tomas Diaz on Mon, 05/08/2023 - 09:07am
Puerto Rico
18.5 mi
Vertical Gain
4,672 ft

I'm submitting this route which I completed last weekend in less than 6 hours and expect some of you out there to decimate my record in half.  
El Toro is the highest summit on the East side of the Island and the highest summit of El Yunque rainforest.  
This route starts on the Ocean at La Pared beach, more specifically right in front of La Tintorera sculpture.  Why this sculpture?  Because it is an obvious landmark point of reference to start.
From the beach you take the roads to Bisley trailhead which connects to La Coca trail.  On these two trails you will do 4 river crossings.  Depending on the weather conditions you may have to get your feet wet when doing these river crossings.  If it hasn't rain for a while, you might jump from rock to rock and not get wet.  If it rained recently you may have to get wet.   Do not attempt to do this FKT during the rain or else you might not be able to cross these rivers or get stuck waiting the water levels to get safely down to cross losing time from your attempt.
After you're done with Bisley and La coca trail you take the roads up to Tradewinds trailhead.  There will be a barrier on the road before the Tradewinds trailhead, but that barriers in for cars only.  Hikers can go through and proceed to the trailhead.
Tradewinds is the least visited and least maintained trail.  As of May, 2023 there is a landslide on the Tradewinds section but it's passable.  See pictures.
Of the Tradewinds section, the section between the intersection of Tradewinds with Rio Sabana trail and El Toro Peak is the least visited, so expect overgrown brush with rocks underneath making it impossible to see if you're stepping on a trail stone or a hole.  Because of this, the last sections might not be runnable without the big risk of stepping on a hole and twisting your ankle.
The route finishes at the top of El Toro peak, more specifically at the top rock that's split in half.  Why that rock?  Because it is at the top and it is a great landmark point of reference. 
Once at the top, the route ends.
After the route ends at the top, enjoy the beautiful view and then keep going West into el Toro trail for another 2.5 miles where you may have a pre-arranged driver to drive you back to the start where you left your car. ...or you can go back through were you came from all the way down to the beach and attempt the Beach to El Toro to Beach FKT when it becomes available. 
If you're doing this unsupported like I did, there are no wild water sources on Tradewinds and the wild water sources after the first two trails will get you off course.  You may get water from the flowing river crossings and treat them.
There is however water in bathrooms, but it is NOT drinkable as it is stored in takes, so bring your iodine tablets like I did and drink it.  ..or you can buy water at the restaurant if it is open, but that takes time away from your attempt.  If you are doing this unsupported you don't need any permits as you do not need any park parking permits at the start or at the end of this route.
If you're doing this supported and want a crew to supply you with goods inside the El Yunque National Park, keep in mind that for your crew to park inside the park they need a permit.  The issue is not the price of the permit.  That's only $2 per car.  The issue is being able to getting the permit.  To get the permit you need to log in exactly at 8am the day before and buy the permit within the first 5 minutes.  During that 5 minute window all permits get sold as the permits are available 24hrs before the the day but get sold very quickly.