Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxacan Hills on an Abandoned Road: Libramiento Norte


For runners who want to escape into the Oaxacan countryside, the Libramiento Norte is a tranquil route through the mountainous outskirts of the city. The project to finish this freeway connecting the northern neighborhoods to downtown Oaxaca was abandoned more than 20 years ago. While the standstill is frustrating to locals, there is one upside to the long stretch of gated-off road: miles of car-free running!

In all, it’s up to 11 km of running one-way on this mostly dirt, partially paved road, with great scenery of the dry, rolling Oaxacan hills. The western end is in Trinidad de Viguera (~10 km from Oaxaca), and the eastern end is in San Felipe del Agua (near the entrance of Benito Juarez National Park). The closest access to Oaxaca is La Chigulera, ~5 km north of the city.  Be advised: signs at the entrance to the Libramiento Norte advise recreators not to carry valuables on the route. That said, it’s a good idea to go with a friend or a group, and stick to the morning hours when the road is more frequented.

  • Up to 11 km (7 miles) one-way
  • 384 meters (1261 feet) over 11 km one-way, from west to east
  • West: Trinidad de Viguera; East: San Felipe del Agua; or points in between. Closest access to Oaxaca is La Chigulera
  • Car needed to get there