Exploring the PR-TF 71 signposted path from Las Lajas Recreation park above Vilaflor
About a year ago this newly signposted path was opened between Adeje and the Las Lajas Recreation park (BBQ area/picnic spot). We have walked previously the route up from Adeje, and the stretch between Taucho and Casas de Teresme, but not discovered before where the path went above that. So on Wednesday 3rd February, we decided to walk down from Las Lajas to explore it.
Unfortunately because there is no road access between La Quinta (Taucho) and Las Lajas, we had to start by walking down and end by walking up, which is not what we usually like doing. However, the weather was clear and sunny and the route so delightful, with beautiful views, and lovely spring flowers, that it was worth the effort.
The walk starts from the BBQ park at the end of the straight entrance track where a signpost with the yellow and white livery points right. About a 50 to 100m from the signpost there is a footpath going to the left with no signage or paint markers to indicate which way the route goes. We stayed with the track and that turned out to be the correct decision.
We walked down the track as it zig-zagged down the slope, for 2.9km till we came to a yellow/white fingerpost pointing to the right onto a path. This was where the scenic part of the route really began. The little path, marked by cairns and occasional yellow/white paintmarks led down to the edge of a barranco and followed it uphill to a crossing point. In this area of pine forest we started to see lots of blue chaffinches. On this less frequented path they were not too shy, though I did not have time to stop and get photos.
A gentle climb again, walking through pine woods, brought us to another barranco crossing. After this we started to get fine views down to the Ifonche area, with the pyramid shaped mountain called Roque Imoque standing out. The flat-topped (slightly sloping) Roque de Conde could also be seen. Then the path went downhill, past a small block building to cross a track running behind a round topped red mountain called Montana Colorado. Later we crossed the same track again and found ourselves walking along the flank of the mountain with even better views. It was from this point, on the side of the mountain that we looked down and saw 3 mouflon, running away through the trees below. Mouflon are wild primitive sheep native to European mountain areas. However, they were introduced to Tenerife and are a threat to the endangered plant species that grow here, especially in the Teide National park. Consequently they are being hunted to keep numbers under control. Since the hunting has become serious, in the last few years, I have seen more mouflon than before, probably because groups have been disturbed. It also may be that we have been exploring more areas remote from roads, where fewer walkers reach! As we continued the view was different, looking to the right of Mt Teresme down to El Cedro, a remote farming area at about 1300m, Tijoco Alto and down to Callao Salvaje on the coast. The track we were following then went into thicker forest with lush undergrowth predominantly of Pine Forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius) and Escobon (Chaemacytisus proliferus). All this undergrowth has regrown since the 2012 fire which devastated this area of pine forest. It is remarkable to see how resilient to fire the Canary pine (Pinus canariensis) is. Some of the trees were burned so badly they lost all their branches and foliage, but they now have green shoots growing out of the nodes at intervals all up the trunk and are again flourishing.
The track took us to an open area with abandoned fields below us, where the track was next to a large red pipe, which we found good to sit on for lunch! This had brought us to the point we had walked to from below on another occasion. On hindsight we should have turned around and gone back the way we came. It would have been quicker and shorter than the way we decided to go. Even then the walk would have been 4.5 hours or a bit more, with about 650m of climbing. However, we normally walk in circles and the only other path up that I knew in the area was the track which we had started out on. I knew the way to it from where we were, but wasted some 25mins trying to do a shortcut which did not work out and we had to retrace our steps. (I have deleted this from the GPS track below.) However, the route did involve losing more height continuing down the yellow/white marked trail nearly to the Casas de Teresme and turning left on a bend just in sight of the next yellow/white signpost, onto a track descending into a barranco.
The track took us to the Galeria del Rosario which is in a deep cleft surrounded by cliffs. My walking group calls it the ‘Hot water gallery’ because they say the water in the channel by the building is warm. It is a beautiful spot. Crossing the streambed we joined a path zig-zagging up a steep slope, criss-crossing the large red water pipe several times on the way. At the top of the path we joined a stony track and continued up it to a junction of tracks where we turned left, uphill. From here on, the track is quite easy walking, it’s just a long slog of zig zags up the slope until we saw the signpost where we left the track earlier, then we continued up the way we came down, all the way to the BBQ park. We had actually walked nearly 20km, with 883m of climbing, and it took us 5 hours 45mins including the shortcut which went wrong. However, without that excursion it should take 5hrs 20m and be only 17.09km, with slightly less climbing.