Exploring a new circular walk above Ifonche

The path through the woods above Ifonche

Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis) a Canary Islands endemic

This walk was done on Friday, when the hot calima weather was starting, so we were glad of the shade of the pines. The initial climb was the hardest, so we got that out of the way before it got too hot. We set out from the crossroads by Bar El Dornajito at the far end of Ifonche village, going up the hill. Whilst still on the minor tarmac road I spotted a late flowering Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis) beside the road. As I was away over their main flowering season I missed seeing the masses in flower, but this was a delightful reminder.

Where the tarmac road did a 90º turn to the left we went straight on following a track.  We continued straight on up where the GR131 was signposted off to the right, and again where a track went to the right..  The track finally stopped by a house, but from there a footpath started, continuing straight on up.

Pine forest cistus (Cistus sympytifolius) another Canary Island endemic

After a while the path descended into a shallow barranco, the Barranco del Agua and continued along its bottom to a junction.  The most well-worn path turned sharply to the left here, but we went straight on up the barranco following cairns.  It was a bit rough underfoot on this stretch but manageable with boots.  The path continued up the bottom of the barranco till nearly reaching a wall of cliffs, where it turned sharply right, up the slope out of the barranco and onto a ridge.

A view through the pines to Roque Imoque and Ifonche

As I climbed out of the barranco I noticed the sun filtering through the pines above and highlighting the pink flower of the Pine forest cistus (Cistus symphytifolius).  At the top, from the ridge there was a great view through the pines down to Roque Imoque and Ifonche village.  We then walked up the ridge, following the cairns, till we reached a slightly flatter area with a small semi-circular walled structure, probably a shepherd shelter.  At this point is a crossing of footpaths.  We continued straight on, slightly uphill, turning left after a few yards to follow a narrow, cairned path around the bottom of the hill, Alto de Chimoche.

The path follows a pipe from the barranco crossing till it reaches the track

After about 10 minutes walking we reached a path junction and turned left, and shortly after at a fork in the path we took the right fork.  We then continued following this path until we came to a disused water channel across our way.  This again is a crossing of paths, and again we continued straight on, over the canal and immediately descending into a barranco, the Barranco de la Fuente.  Crossing the streambed, we followed the path out the other side and continued in the same direction, following the path and its cairns until we met a track.  Here we wasted a good deal of time as the map showed the track forming a loop, both ends of which reached a track descending from Mt Teresme.  However, our investigations of the lower part of the track loop proved it did not exist.  The track ended and although there was a path continuing, with cairns, it soon died out, as did another alternative.  So we returned to the point where our path from the barranco crossing joined the track, and went along the higher part of the ‘loop’ on the map.  This did join the downhill track from Teresme and we turned left to walk down this track.

Local Tenerife endemic marguerites (Argyranthemum foeniculaceum) growing up the cliffs in the Brco de la Fuente

We continued down this track, which is easy to walk, till we reached a bar gate at a junction of tracks.  We turned left to continue downhill down the same ridge we were on, till we reached a point where the track went sharply to the left.  In the next few yards we looked to the right for cairns, which marked a footpath zig-zagging down a steep hillside to meet another path where we turned left.  We were now on the main, well-known and well-trodden footpath from La Quinta, Taucho, to Ifonche.  We continued along it, with its ups and downs around barrancos, till we reached Ifonche, near the Bar El Dornajito again.

On the way, in the biggest barranco we crossed, which was again the Barranco de la Fuente, there were some plants in flower despite the drought.  A few Roof houseleeks (Aeonium urbicum var. meridionale) were in flower on the cliffs as we entered this big and very scenic barranco, and some Tenerife Bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus campylocladus) in the path.  At the streambed crossing there were some plants of the rare endemic, Tenerife sea-kale (Crambe scaberrima) in flower hanging from the cliff on the other side, and a bit off the path up the streambed was a Poleo de Monte (Bystropogon canariensis) in flower.  In the streambed by the path exiting, a huge shrub of Shrubby burnet (Bencomia caudata) was also in flower, with its long knobbly catkins.  The other side of the barranco had the purple flowers of Palomera (Pericallis lanata) and some of the local endemic marguerites (Argyranthemum foeniculaceum), in addition to more pine forest cistus.  This floral richness even in a time of drought shows just why this is part of the Reserva natural especial del Barranco del Infierno which houses great biodiversity including many rarities.

The whole walk took us 5 hours, but that included one large and two small diversions looking for paths, so without those it would have taken about 3.5-4 hours.  It would then have been around 11km/6.9miles long and involved about 400m of climbing.

A GPS trail of this walk without our diversions can be found at this link:



About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on May 13, 2012, in South Tenerife, Walks in Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: