Arenal Observatory Lodge Trail

MODERATE 4 reviews

Arenal Observatory Lodge Trail is a 6.1 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

6.1 km
167 m

kid friendly



horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running







wild flowers


The Arenal Observatory Lodge is the only resort in La Fortuna to be located within Arenal Volcano National Park known for putting visitors right in the middle of pristine rainforest habitat that is up close and personal with the famous Arenal Volcano. The Arenal Volcano last erupted in 1968 but has been in a resting dormant phase since 2010 and is carefully monitored. Staying at the lodge grants you free access to all trails. Visitors can pay $10 per person for access to all 7 miles of the network of trails on property. The resort property has a network of trails taking hikers through open grasslands, woodlands, and rainforests with commanding and spectacular views of volcanoes Arenal and Cerro Chato along the way. Trails are well marked and loop back around to the lodge reception and observatory deck. There is a 0.5 mile paved trail through a portion of the rainforest and gardens. The observatory lodge trails connect directly to the tough hike up to the beautiful volcanic lake and laguna atop the volcano Cerro Chato. The Arenal Volcano National Park is known for showcasing some of the best birding in the world including toucans, umbrella birds, woodpeckers, trogons, oropendolas, hummingbirds, owls, and more with over 500 species identified in their forest. Mammals in the park include anteater, gray fox, coatimundi, paca, peccary, monkeys, ocelot, red brocket deer, and more.

24 days ago

Great for families as it’s mostly flat but gets you into the forest seeing animals and waterfalls.

4 months ago

Great hike for animal watching.

4 months ago

Stayed at the observatory lodge in February 2016. The facilities were really nice but what made it truly fantastic was the resort was located already in the Arenal Volcano National Park. Saw owls by night and toucans and amazing rainforest birds by day (mostly around sunrise). The trails around the property were really well maintained and very quiet for the most part (maybe timing of our visit). There were really cool hanging bridges to cross over through the rainforest, beautiful gardens, open prairies with crazy views of Arenal in the background sooo close by, and an awesome waterfall you could walk down to just off the trail. The observatory lodge trails are all easy to moderate. The trail to hike up Cerro Chato volcano was pretty difficult and muddy (quick elevation gain in a short distance) but the view up top of the lake in the middle was beautiful.

4 months ago