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Cañada de los Pajaritos, Serranía de los Picachos

los picachos

In addition to its primary mission of managing and developing the botanical garden and Landeta Park in San Miguel de Allende, El Charco del Ingenio AC is also responsible for a Forestry Reserve of 90 hectares in the highlands of Los Picachos, a mountain range south of the city.

Los Picachos is a mountain massif of volcanic origin, whose peaks rise up to 2,600 meters in altitude, making them the most prominent in the region. They comprise a surface area of about 10,000 hectares, covered by grazing land and dry scrub on the lower slopes, deciduous forest in numerous canyons, and extensive oak woodlands on the uplands. The lack of vehicle access and the sparse population in the mountains have preserved the forest and its soil, which retains enough moisture to support an exceptional biodiversity, of both flora and fauna.


The oak forests contain at least seven distinct species of the genus Quercus, as well as other species of mountain trees.

However, the greatest variety is to be found in the mountain canyons, with numerous species of tropical deciduous trees, some of them rare or in danger of extinction. Many other plant families, as well as native mammals, birds and reptiles find in these forests propitious conditions for their development and reproduction, in spite of the geographical and ecological isolation of Los Picachos with respect to other mountain ranges in the region.   mapache

vida silvestre

It was precisely its ecological value and its proximity to San Miguel that led the conservation group Cante to acquire, in 1991, a piece of land in one of the best preserved parts of the Picachos range, taking into account the growing threat caused by a variety of long-established but destructive practices, such as overgrazing, land clearing, hunting, collection and capture of wild plants and animals, as well as the removal of timber, soil and stone. The proposed objective was to work intensively on the conservation of a central area, La Cañada de los Pajaritos (The Canyon of the Little Birds), with the goal of having the entire range officially declared a protected natural area within the foreseeable future.

The land was fenced, a modest encampment built, minimal security established to prevent depredation, and a preliminary study of its natural resources carried out, though surveys of the flora and fauna. At the same time, filtrating dams were constructed by hand using stones available in the area, on the river bed. The purpose of these dams was to slow the rate of flow of water during the rainy season in order to conserve both soil and moisture. Two small dams were built to hold water all year round, principally for the use by wildlife during the dry season. White-tailed deer were also introduced into the reserve, which after a period of adjustment in captivity, adapted to their new habitat without difficulty.

During this initial phase of establishing the forest reserve, we invited a variety of scientific and technical advisors (botanists, zoologists, geologists, etc.) to visit the Reserve. Their observations helped greatly in assessing and conserving not only the Reserve and its resources, but also those of the entire range. Nevertheless, and despite visits by state and federal officials, the Picachos range has not yet achieved the category of protected natural area.


Over the years, there have been visits and tourist excursions by diverse sectors of the population, not only to see the scenic beauty and natural attractions of Los Picachos, but also pre-Columbian remains, such as rock paintings found in caves in the mountains.

In 1998, Cante AC donated the forest reserve of La Cañada de los Pajaritos along with the facilities of the botanical garden to El Charco del Ingenio AC for the purpose of continuing the work of conservation, not only within the reserve itself, but also in the surrounding range of Los Picachos.

The botanical garden organizes study and research trips to Los Picachos, which can be arranged at the information center of the garden, or through e-mail,



agave  garambullo  pajaros  nopales  bisnaga

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