Cumbres de Monterrey: National Park and Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)

Cumbres de Monterrey: National Park and Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 14:17
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The Cumbres de Monterrey National Park and Biosphere Reserve is located in the northern portion of the Sierra Madre Oriental, a mountain range in northeastern Mexico and near the city of Monterrey, consisting of rugged terrain boasting steep mountains, deep canyons, rivers and waterfalls.

Cumbres de Monterrey

Cumbres de Monterrey National Park was established on November 24, 1939, by president Lázaro Cárdenas. The park was decreed to encompass 246,500 ha (609,000 acres), which at the time was the largest area to be declared protected by the Mexican government as a National Park.

By decree on November 17, 2000, Cumbres de Monterrey National Park was reduced to an area of 177,395 ha (438,353 acres).

Cumbres de Monterrey Biosphere Reserve was designated by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program in 2006.

Cumbres de Monterrey National Park and Biosphere Reserve is situated in the northern portion of the Sierra Madre Oriental, a mountain range in northeastern Mexico. It is located near the city of Monterrey in the states of Nuevo León and Coahuila.

The area consists of rugged terrain, boasting steep mountains reaching an elevation of 2,260 m (7,410 ft) above sea level, as well as deep canyons, rivers and waterfalls.

The Sierra Madre Oriental is a mountain range in northeastern Mexico and part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consist of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges (Continental Divide) forming the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.

The highest peaks in Cumbres de Monterrey:

  • Pinar: 1,515 m (4,970 ft)
  • La Ventana: 1,955 m (6,414 ft)
  • La Antenna: 2,015 m (6,611 ft)
  • M Este: 2,020 m (6,630 ft)
  • Copete de las Águilas: 2,260 m (7,410 ft)

The main types of ecosystems found here are coniferous forests: forests of oaks and scrub. It is considered a priority region and an important area for bird conservation because of its vicinity to El Taray reserve (a parrot reserve in the mountains in the east). It is important for the production of ecosystem services, providing approximately 50% of water consumed in Monterrey and its metropolitan area.

Grutas de García (García Caves) is one of the largest cave system in Mexico and is one of the most popular attractions within the Park. García Caves were hidden for millions of years until being discovered in 1843. Marine fossils have been discovered inside these caves because the lining of the caves mainly consist of oceanic sedimentary rock.

Cañón de la Huasteca is the most famous of the many canyons found in Cumbres de Monterrey and accounts for about 200 ha (494 acres) of the park. The walls of Cañón de la Huastecan are marked with a significant number prehistoric glyphs created thousands of years ago by the ancient inhabitants of the region.

Throughout the park/reserve there are numerous waterfalls. The two most famous waterfalls are Cascada Cola de Caballo (Horsetail Falls) and Cascada de Chipitín (Chipitín Falls).


Cumbres de Monterrey contains a great variety of ecosystems due to its geography. Many microclimates allow a greater variety of flora and fauna to flourish. Agave, Dasylirion, and Rhus species are found in many areas of the park. The forest is made up mainly of the following tree species:

  • Spruce: Picea martinezii, Picea engelmannii
  • Yucca: Yucca carnerosana, Yucca filifera
  • Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga lindleyana, Pseudotsuga flahualti
  • Firs: Abies vejarii, Abies hickelii, Abies hidalgensis, Abies durangensis
  • Oak: Quercus fusiformis, Quercus greggii, Quercus hipoxlanta, Quercus laeta, Quercus saltillensis
  • Pine: Pinus ayacahuite, Pinus cembroides, Pinus greggii, Pinus hartwegii, Pinus pinceana, Pinus pseudostrobus, Pinus rudis, Pinus teocote

The Cumbres de Monterrey National Park and Biosphere Reserve has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the northern part of Mexico. The pine and oak forests and steppe are home to many animals. There is a large variety of fish that can be found in the park but most species are endangered.

The park hosts a large variety of bird species, including Accipiter striatus, Aquila chrysaetos, Circus cyaneus, Falco columbarius, Falco mexicanus, Falco peregrinus, Rhynchopsitta terrisi, Speotyto cunicularia, and Spizella wortheni.

The park's mammals include Puma concolor, Ursus americanus, Canis latrans and Odocoileus virginianus.

There are 32 towns located in the reserve, with a total population of around 2000 people. The area has been zoned according to the priority of conservation of ecosystems and land use, including space for the development of the traditional activities of local residents.