A circular walk from Santiago del Teide, Tenerife

Near the beginning of the walk on the path towards the Degollada de la Mesa

My friends and I decided to do this walk last Wednesday as it combined a lot of paths we knew in a different way, involved a link we were not familiar with and a recently cleared path back to Santiago del Teide we had never used. It turned out a varied and pleasant walk which we all enjoyed.

Sea squill (Drimia maritima)

We parked opposite the barbeque park just beyond the church in Santiago del Teide and walked along the main road towards Erjos past the turning to Valle de Arriba and up to the next bend where the footpath starts.  This footpath has a sign either end saying it is temporarily closed.  However, it is a good clear path and in better state than many we know that are open.  There is, however, near the signpost that ends our use of it, a short section which is steep, with loose stones, that could be slippery in damp weather, especially when coming down.   We have never found it a problem going up.

The view to Teide from near the junction with the track

The path passes a group of Eucalyptus trees on the left at the beginning but as it climbs the left hand side is open and there are pines on the right, enabling excellent views back down towards Santiago del Teide.  The open area was affected by the fire in 2007 but is now repopulated with mixed shrubs.  On the path we passed a Sea squill (Drimia maritima) in flower.  Its name is inappropriate for where it grows in Tenerife, which is in the mountains rather than near the sea but even its spanish name, Cebolla maritima, which translates as Sea onion, gives it a connection to the sea.  It is a bulb whose leaves appear earlier in the year, then they die back when the flower is produced in late summer.  This year seems to be a good year for the flowers, I don’t think I have seen so many in previous years.

Burnt forest seen from the track around Mt Gala

e reached a signpost where our path, which continues up to the Degollada de la Mesa, meets the end of a track.  We turned right onto the track which winds its way, roughly on the level, around Mt Gala with its fire watchtower and communications masts.  Here we started to see signs of the recent fire in the area, with some areas where the trees were brown and the ground was covered by ash from the burnt pine needle carpet.  These trees  will recover quite quickly after rain, as the fire has rushed through and not burned intensely around them.

Looking up at Mt Gala from its access road, with its fire scars.

The track rises gently to a ridge where it meets the access road for the Mt Gala installations, which we crossed to descend towards the Erjos lakes.  At the moment only one has a little water in it, unlike two winters ago when we counted seven lakes filled with water.  The slope we walked down was badly burned in the recent fire, although even there a small patch of laurels had survived in a dip on the way down.

Looking towards Erjos and the lakes from near the ridge, across the slopes burnt in the recent fire

It was noticeable as we continued that the only green on the burnt areas was the regrowth of brambles and bracken from their roots.  How resilient they are!

Passing the lakes, we turned right where the waymarked path we had been following went left.  Shortly afterwards we went left up a track which zig-zags up to the main road near the Restaurant Fleytas.  A short walk along the road, passing the restaurant on our left we approached a house just past the junction with the road going to San Jose de los Llanos, and turned left immediately before it to join a concrete farm road which dips down into the valley and up the other side.  This avoids walking on the road to San Jose which you can use if you prefer.  The concrete road joins the San Jose road just before the roundabout where the new Eco museum entrance will be.  The buildings there seem to have been completed, and the car park areas constructed and landscaped, but there is no sign yet of it opening.  Perhaps the present economic situation is the cause of the delay.

Half-spotted stink bug (Graphosuma semipunctata) on a fennel head. They are very common on them this year.

From the roundabout we took the track signposted as the way to the Rural hotel.  We also joined one of the footpaths in the PR-TF 43 complex which connects with the circle around Chinyero, but we were not going that far!  We walked past the rural hotel and up to a crossroads of tracks.  The yellow/white path continues straight on, with another branch (to San Jose de los Llanos) going left but here we turned right.  (Well, if I’m honest we went left for a small diversion, which did not turn out well so I am not relating it!)

We followed the track as far as a fork with a fig tree between the two prongs and took the left track, heading fairly straight towards Mt Bilma a reddish-coloured volcano.  We passed many fields with fig trees on either side of the track.  Ignoring a track to the right we continued walking straight on until, after 20 minutes walking from the crossroads, we met another junction with a track, which was part of the yellow/white waymarked path from Santiago del Teide to Chinyero.  We turned right there to return to Santiago del Teide.

The view towards Teide and Pico Viejo from the path near Mt Bilma

Following the yellow/white markings on the track with lava on our left, we shortly turned to the left at El Fronton – the end of the Chinyero lava of 1909.  The pile of lava is about 4 metres high, with an abrupt end, and in front of it a turning circle for vehicles driving up the minor road from Valle de Arriba, and on the far side of that a small white shrine.  The signpost for the trail points straight on for Santiago del Teide 3.6km away.  The route we took followed this signposted route from now on.

The path went towards Mt Bilma for a while and then took a 90 degree turn to the right and started downhill with a view of Mt Gala, which we walked around earlier, ahead of us.  After crossing another footpath, the slope became steeper and rougher and needed attention, and at the bottom of that section, next to a wedge-shaped reservoir was a fork, with the signpost pointing to the left.  This was the beginning of the new bit of path we had not walked before.  It did prove to be quite rough underfoot for much of the way, so if you prefer a more comfortable walking surface, I suggest you go straight on, which leads you onto the Valle de Arriba road, where you would turn left to get back to the start.  However, we walked along the new path which wound its way across the rough ground to arrive on the edge of the village not far from the church.

The recently cleared path heading for the church of Santiago del Teide

Reaching tarmac we went right, left and right again to get to the church plaza where there is a Tourist Information office.  We had only to turn right, along the main road going to the left of the church to get back to where we parked.

The walk was 13.5km /8.4 miles long and took about 4.25 hours (after deducting our unsuccessful diversion).  There was approximately 400m of climbing.

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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 September 10, 2012, in Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We followed your walk today and had a fantastic time thank you.
    Jan and David from Wales

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