Bogotá's Eastern Mountains Trails
Category Landscape | Public space | Infrastructure
Job type Commission
Size 14,000 ha + 97.4 km of trails
Client Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá - EAAB
Collaborators (Concept design) LOLA Landscape | L+CC
Status Detail design | Unrealised
The Mountains and the territory
The Eastern Mountains have a significant link with the urban growth and development of Bogotá. Since Pre-Columbian times, a network of trails and paths has been consolidated there. They have allowed the supply and exchange of goods, as the pilgrimage to different sanctuaries and sacred places in the region. The mountain's trails are linked to the city neighborhoods in the foothills, the eastern mountain range of Colombia, the eastern plains, and Cundinamarca's eastern provinces.
Shaping the landscape
Due to their natural attributes, the mountains are a landscape, spatial, cultural, and heritage component of Bogotá. The Eastern Mountains are a diverse group of geographical elements composed of a wide range of topographies such as valleys, canyons, brooks, and panoramic terraces.
Public consciousness of the Mountains
The project enables public access to the Forest Reserve of the Eastern Mountains, offering different experiences to visitors. Thus, creating environmental conservation, recovery, and education awareness. It promotes social inclusion and appreciation of natural resources.
One of the objectives of the trails is to protect the ecological structure and landscape of Bogotá. The Eastern Mountains play a significant role in the city's geography due to their ecological richness, and the environmental services they provide to Bogotá. For example, water supply, water regulation, and refuge for the Andean biodiversity.
Fire control infrastructure
The trails serve a double purpose: they exalt a natural side of the city and prevent and mitigate fires, a constant treat to the Forest Reserve. They are a protective measure for it. The trails' elevation is around the middle of the total mountain height to ease access to the forest for fire's attention.
Fires are a constant threat to the preservation of the Forest Reserve
Forest Reserve areas affected by fires from 1999 to 2016.
The project is one of the components of the Bogotá Environmental Circuit
Bogotá Environmental Circuit
The Circuit is a set of strategic environmental projects interconnected to create an environmental network within the city. The objective of the projects is to protect and preserve the natural and landscape environment. They are projects that consolidate new interaction spaces for the citizens. To promote harmony between the natural and built city, to offer passive recreation activities, and places to enjoy the natural components as part of the citizens' lives.
The trails create an axis that articulates natural and social components of the city in a route from north to south
Existing trails network
Nowadays, there are a large number of trails in the mountains. Most of them are used by locals in the influence area for daily commuting. But their existence is unknown to most of the Bogotá population. These trails have an identity and history that deserves to be shared.
Commerce and Supply
Quarries and foothill neighborhoods connection
The project has one main trail of 72,8 km and 25 access trails.
Additionally, it includes the network of existing paths within it. They connect to the main trail and to points of interest in the mountains, strengthening the connectivity of the mountains.
The project is divided into 19 landscape units, 24 access points, and 23 logistic points. The trails system could extend to the north and the south in the future
Each landscape unit presents a circuit with a unique experience for the visitor. All units have different landscapes and landmarks along the trail, which mixed give each unit a singular character. The experiences categories are ecology, integration, sports, contemplation, culture, and history.
Trails adaptation to the context
The Forest Reserve is not homogeneous from a biological perspective. This natural diversity makes the experience richer in landscapes. The trails go through all the different ecosystems present in the mountains. Their design adapts to them and changes as the natural context does.
The characterization of the profiles is done depending on the ecosystem the trail segment goes through. Each ecosystem has an individual trail design. It adapts and creates a more diverse experience. As the trail passes through more elevated areas of the mountain, the intervention becomes less invasive with narrower sections and more natural materials. Additionally, the typical solutions adapt to the terrain's slope along the trail and in its section.
Additional to the trails themselves, the project includes several pieces of infrastructure. The transition between the city and the main trail is done through an access trail that starts within the neighborhood. At the start, it has public facilities for the community, integrating the people and their projects with the trails and their natural surroundings, creating a social heritage for the city. Once inside the mountain, the visitors will find the services required for a pleasant experience within nature. Some ease the promenade, others give shelter and are references in the landscape, as there are some for basic personal services.
The entrances to the trails are composed of sets of service modules required to meet the requirements of the visitors. The arrangement of the groups of modules shapes the public plazas with a wide range of arrangements to increase the chances of community congregation.
Information and Management
12 units - 36 m²
12 units - 45 m²
12 units - 40 m²
12 units - 30 m²
Located at the crossings of the main trail with the access trails. It's a reference landmark and meeting point in the mountains. It's composed of a plaza with a brick tower. The tower's materiality dialogues with the chimneys of the brick factories that historically have used these mountains. The tower is a reference element that protrudes into the landscape. It has a wi-fi hotspot, a first-aid basic, and communications kits for emergencies.
23 units - 30 m²
This pavilion is located in the higher parts of the trails, in crossings and places where the terrain allows it. It offers a space for teaching activities using the surroundings. Also, it's a shelter for users when weather conditions change.
56 units - 9 m²
10.2 km - 10% of the trails
This bridge type is placed at the crossings of the trail with small rivers or brooks. It saves small distances to keep the most efficient trace for the path. The bridge has a minimal design to keep a low profile within nature.
90 units - 1 to 8 meters
This bridge type is placed in bigger rivers and canyons. It continues the trail in the most efficient path, granting safety and enhancing the experience of the visitors with the panoramic views.
4 units - 8 to 50 meters
The trails' viewpoints are located in places with the potential to offer exclusive views of the city and the landscape. The different typologies come from the identification of pedagogical and contemplative opportunities in the site visits. The proposed types are dug viewpoints, cantilever viewpoints, and summit viewpoints.
It's located in elevated areas or peaks with views but no access today.
It's located in areas of the former quarries excavated in the mountains.
It's located in the areas of Andean forest with high slopes and open views.
Compiling and sharing the methodology
The project implementation requires a guide that explains easily the methodology for the design and construction of natural trails. The designed guides aim to be a national reference for trail development, setting strategies to connect diverse ecosystems along the national territory, and identifying the natural landmarks and potentials for the community appropriation of the territory. The final result is a general guide for trails' construction, and a manual for the design of trails applied in the Bogotá Eastern Mountains case
The project promotes social inclusion with the natural heritage
Citizens can be in touch with nature without leaving Bogotá
Improving the quality of life of the population
2022 © All rights reserved
Calle 119 # 13-51 Piso 4
+57 (601) 792-9112
Amsterdam │The Netherlands
1018 VN Amsterdam
+31 6 4782 0774
- MOBILE CONTENT BELOW -
- MOBILE CONTENT ABOVE -