Introducing the Devil’s Nose: Ecuador’s scariest route

Devil's nose in Ecuador

This post is also available in: Español

The Devil’s Nose route is considered one of the most terrifying routes in Ecuador and you’re probably wondering why.

We’ll tell you everything we know about it so you’ll be as surprised as we are by its history. Will you dare to hike it on your next trip to Ecuador?

History of the route

The Devil’s Nose is a stretch of the Trans-Andean Railroad that in the early 20th century connected Guayaquil with Quito with the aim of improving the country’s economy.

The first locomotive arrived on June 25, 1908 at Chimbacalle station, Quito , and traveled 452 kilometers (452 miles). This was a great historical event.

Can you picture what it must have been like back then? Enjoying from your window the green and virgin landscape of the Ecuadorian territory. With views, even if they were distant, of volcanoes like Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Carihuairazo, when the railroad passed near Urbina.

But not everything was volcanoes, also impressive lagoons that are worth visiting. We recommend the tour to the Quilotoa lagoon, at one of the train stops, Latacunga. It is clear that traveling to Ecuador is a marvel.

First Devil's Nose train

Why is it the most terrifying route in Ecuador?

A curious fact about Ecuador, is that Quito is located at 2800 meters above sea level. This means that to reach it by train you had to cross the entire Ecuadorian mountain range.

During the construction process, the engineers found defiles of more than forty meters of free fall that made the work difficult.

For this reason, it is considered the most terrifying route in Ecuador. Building it resulted in a high level of complexity.In fact, it is one of the great masterpieces of engineering in Ecuador.

Where does its name come from?

One of the obstacles they encountered along the way was a gigantic triangular-shaped rock, hence its name, the Devil’s Nose.

It was quite a challenge, the only way to conquer this large stone was to design a zigzag path.

It was quite a challenge, the only way to conquer this large boulder was to design a zigzag path . The train would go down as far as the edge of the mountain would allow and stop there. Then the train marched backward and down another stretch and so on until it reached the bottom.

Devil's Nose train zigzag track

Some interesting facts

  • To build only 13 kilometers of track,about 3000 people died due to landslides, snake bites and diseases because of poor working conditions.
  • Many prisoners worked in its construction. And were promised that when the work was finished, they would be free, although many of them died.
  • Today the Devil’s Nose is a section of the Trans-Andean Railway ‘Ecuador Train’, much more modern and safe.
  • It is also part of the route of another tourist train called ‘Tren Crucero’ from which if you’re lucky you’ll be able to observe the volcanoes. But…do you know how many volcanoes does Ecuador really have?
  • Thanks to these railroads, integration was improved between the regions of Ecuador that were so separated by the mountains.

Now that you know the history of the Devil’s Nose Route, you will have seen the reason for its fame as the most terrifying. Do you dare to walk it?


Lucia's life motto is "go with the flow". She lets herself go with the flow and joins any plan.

She has been lucky enough to travel to many different places, but her perfect trip is any place with sun, sand and sea. Indecisive by nature, she would not know how to choose between the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands in Spain, or between Mexican and Peruvian food. Maybe that's why she will never say no to a trip... She has to find answers!

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