Part way up the road in El Yunque National Forest you will come across a busy parking lot on the left side of the road. The sign by the parking lot will read, Big Tree Trailhead La Mina Falls. This is the first of two access points to the ultra popular La Mina Waterfall. The second entrance to La Mina Waterfall is further up the road at Palo Colorado Information Center & Picnic Area, which has multiple trailheads.
The Big Tree Trailhead leading to La Mina Waterfall has a paved parking lot, but also allows parking on the right side of the road. Even on weekdays this parking area can be packed so you may need to continue on to the Palo Colorado lot. Read more →
While visiting El Yunque National Forest you should be sure to visit the Palo Colorado Recreation Area. This area is home to more things to do than any other area in El Yunque. Palo Colorado acts as the hub to multiple trailheads, picnic areas, restrooms, lots of parking, a visitor center with guided tours available, rivers, waterfalls, and historic pools.
Check out our map below for a detailed GPS location of the Palo Colorado Recreation Area. In addition to the Recreation Area we have the trailheads, parking, and other points of interest marked. In addition to the map we have pictures that should give you a good idea of the Palo Colorado Recreation Area layout.
Parking is plentiful and available to both the south and the north of the Visitor Center. Parking on the north side will put you right next to the visitor center and the restrooms. The parking lot on the south side offers more spaces and a sunnier area. Read more →
La Mina Trail is one of two hiking trails that lead to the extremely popular La Mina Waterfall of El Yunque National Forest, the other one is Big Tree Trail. However, La Mina Trail starts out in an area that provides many other things to do compared to that of Big Tree’s Trailhead.
The Trailhead to La Mina Trail is located at the Palo Colorado Recreation Area, which is the hub to multiple hiking trails, the visitor center, rivers, and picnic areas. One of the other benefits to this location is the amount of parking available. There are multiple lots, with parking on both the south and the north side of the Palo Colorado Visitor Center.
Once you have parked you will find a couple access points to La Mina Trail. The hiking trail will take you past a few picnic areas and then lead you down along the same route that the La Mina River flows. This trail does not have as many twists and turns as the Big Tree Trail, but is about the same overall distance. Read more →
The Bano Grande Pool is a man-made pool that was built in the 1930s. It was created by damming off the river to create a large circular pool. The pool is extremely easy to access by taking a set of stairs across the street from the Palo Colorado Information Center. The stairs are also the start point of the El Yunque Trail.
Parking for the Bano Grande Pool is located at the Palo Colorado Parking Lot. The parking lot is well marked and can be seen on our map below. There are multiple parking areas at the Palo Colorado Information Center.
Once you cross the parking lot towards Bano Grande Pool you will see the waterfall created by the water emptying over the edge of the dam. There is also a stone walkway that circles the entire pool. Overall the Bano Grande Pool makes for a nice place to stop and get some pictures, but it does not offer the fun of places like La Mina Waterfall. Read more →
The Bano de Oro Trail is a short trail that originates about 150 feet up the mountain from Palo Colorado. The trail winds it’s way through the forest passing the Bano de Oro pool, many native plant species, and the La Mina River. The Bano de Oro Trail ends as it hits a junction with the El Yunque Trail.
Parking for the Bano de Oro Trail is available at both the Palo Colorado Visitor Center and across the road from the trailhead on PR 191. There is much more space available at the Palo Colorado Parking Lot.
*A note from the National Forest Website is that you should close windows, lock doors, and place valuables in your trunk.