Created in 1939, Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos owes its name to early Portuguese explorers, who thought that its strangely shaped rocky peaks bore an uncanny resemblance to a church pipe organ. Stretching between Petrópolis  and Teresópolis , Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos comprises 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of exuberant Atlantic forest with waterfalls, hiking trails, and the postcard-worthy Dedo de Deus (Finger of God), rising 1,692 meters (5,551 feet) above sea level.
Higher, but less dramatic, is the Pedra do Sino (Bell Rock, 2,263 meters/7,425 feet). There are plenty of other peaks to marvel at and even scale—a fact that has made Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos one of Brazil ’s most popular climbing, trekking, and radical sport destinations.
From the park’s uppermost summits, on a clear day you can see all the way to Rio de Janeiro  and the Baía de Guanabara.
Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos has numerous trails, ranging from easy 30-minute strolls to the very taxing but spectacular three-day, 42-kilometer (26-mile) venture from Petrópolis to Teresópolis. However, since most trails are unmarked, you should hire a guide if you’re thinking of doing more than a short hike.
Information about guides is available at the park’s main entrance and headquarters (Av. Rotariana, tel. 21/2152-1100, www.ibama.gov.br/parnaso , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., R$3 pp, R$5 per vehicle).
For longer, more strenuous hikes and radical sports excursions such as rappelling and canyoneering you can contact Trekking Petrópolis (tel. 24/2235-7607, www.rioserra.com.br/trekking ). May–October is the best time for trekking, while November–February is more conducive to bathing in the park’s many icy streams and waterfalls.
Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos is 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the center of Teresópolis  on the BR-116 leading to Rio. The entrance close to Petrópolis  is 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the center of town on the Estrada União-Indústria.