It's amazing to think that a national park with so many elevation changes and so much biodiveristy can exist within just an hour's drive of booming Rio de Janeiro. Such is the case with the Serra dos Orgaos: a reserve known for its huge range of plant and animal species, 10 different peaks at least 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) high, as well as a selection of beautiful rivers and waterfalls throughout its 110 sq. km landscape.
The highest peak, Pedra do Sino, tops out at 2,263 meters (7,424 feet) and can be scaled on a number of hikes available with our without guides, while the Dedo de Deus (God's Finger) rock is a picturesque landmark immortalized on the state flag (hint: if you're a climber, this is where your ears should perk up).
If you're willing, there are a few lengthy hikes that begin and end at any of the 3 park entrances, including a 35 km (22 mile) odyssey from Teresopolis to Petropolis through some truly rough but spectacular terrain. Check out the included official website (Portuguese only) for more info on prices and things to do, and get ready to tackle one of Rio's more rugged next-door adventure opportunities.