Category Archives: Walks in Tenerife

Nature walks in Tenerife

A nature walk in the dramatic Barranco de Badajoz, Guimar

Looking up the barranco as it narrows.

Looking up the barranco as it narrows.

I have wanted to visit the Barranco de Badajoz for a long time as I was aware of its historical interest and biodiversity. However I always thought it was a rather short walk for my energetic walking friends, and too difficult underfoot for my less active friends. However, I was proved wrong on both counts when I finally visited it on Saturday, 19th March.

Approaching the canal bridge across the barranco after which the path becomes very rough

Approaching the canal bridge across the barranco after which the path becomes very rough

The Barranco de Badajoz is known historically for being the last stronghold of the resisting guanche population after the spanish invasion. However, I was interested more in the wide range of interesting and endemic plants that grow there. Usually such a barranco would be extremely difficult to walk up, due to large boulders, etc, but this was not the case until the last 100m or so before the end point where the barranco becomes almost vertical some hundreds of metres high.

The lush greenery where a side ravine joins the main barranco.

The lush greenery where a side ravine joins the main barranco.

 

The path up the barranco is a driveable (4×4) track for a great part of the way, and then becomes an easy sand/gravel path until you reach a decaying and unused concrete water channel bridge overhead just below the Galeria Izana. Only then does the path deteriorate to a rubbly scramble through bramble bushes till you reach a very narrow gorge, only a couple of metres at its narrowest, where the cascade chain begins.

The final end to the trail, the narrow gorge through which the water gushes after a near vertical fall of 2-300m.

The final end to the trail, the narrow gorge through which the water gushes after a near vertical fall of 2-300m.

 

We began our walk from near the church in the village of San Juan in the Guimar valley where there are a number of parking places and a nice friendly little bar for our end of walk drinks. However, if we had wanted to shorten the walk further we could have driven a further kilometre to park on the side of the barranco itself, or even further than that.

A rare Canary endemic broom Teline osyroides

A rare Canary endemic broom Teline osyroides

 

On entering the barranco it is fairly wide, with small farms either side on the slopes. Gradually as you walk up the barranco sides close in and get steeper and the farms get fewer and then disappear. Half way up the barranco is a concrete and cobbled ramp which takes you past a gallery entrance on the left and through a narrow gorge on a bend in the barranco. Afterwards the barranco widens again but from this point on, the richness of the plant life and the breathtaking scenery are amazing.

Flowers and leaves of Atlantic Island Buckthorn - Sanguino - (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Flowers and leaves of Atlantic Island Buckthorn – Sanguino – (Rhamnus glandulosa)

Immediately after the gorge there is a group of evergreen small trees including Atlantic Islands buckthorn – Sanguino in spanish -(Rhamnus glandulosa), Spiny Buckthorn – Espinero – (Rhamnus crenulata), Canary maytenus – Peralillo – (Maytenus canariensis), and mixed in with them some Wild Olive (Olea europea). Also luxuriant growth of shrubs and climbers such as Shrubby Burnet – (Bencomia caudata), Forest Bindweed – Corregüelón de monte – (Convolvulus canariensis) and Madder – Azaigo de risco (Rubia peregrina ssp agostinhoi).

Canary Maytenus (Maytenus canariensis) and its fruits

Canary Maytenus (Maytenus canariensis) and its fruits

At the sides of the path and tracks can be found Pinnate Rue (Ruta pinnata), False sages (Sideritis oroteneriffae), Viper’s Buglosses of two species (Echium virescens) and (Echium strictum), an endemic broom (Teline osyroides) and Canary St Johns Wort (Hypericum canariensis) among many other things.

Rough-leaved bugloss (Echium strictum) in a mass of vegetation - another Canary endemic

Rough-leaved bugloss (Echium strictum) in a mass of vegetation – another Canary endemic

 

 

 

 

 

On the steep slopes are forests of ferns, lots of native sow thistles (Sonchus sp.), native Cinerarias (Pericallis sp.) and so much more. Even in the luxuriant brambles near the end of the trail an endemic of the stinging nettle family can be found (Urtica morifolia).

Pinnate Rue - Ruta pinnata - a Canary endemic.

Pinnate Rue – Ruta pinnata – a Canary endemic.

The walk took us 3.5 hours at a leisurely pace with plenty of time to look at the plants. We walked 8.5 km / just over 5 miles and climbed approximately 310m on a gentle incline. As mentioned above, starting the walk 1km further on, and finishing a little sooner could have reduced the distance by 2-3 km, and, as it is a there and back walk one can walk as little or as much as desired. However, I do recommend going past the concrete and cobble ramp and through the gorge to see the best biodiversity.

The flowers of Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), a Macronesian (Atlantic islands) endemic

The flowers of Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), a Macronesian (Atlantic islands) endemic

You can find various walks to the Barranco de Badajoz on the wikiloc.com site to help you get to the beginning.  Clearly the higher reaches of the barranco with high vertical cliffs does not lend itself to accurate GPS tracks.

Vicia cirrhosa - an annual vetch which scrambles over other shrubs is another Canary endemic

Vicia cirrhosa – an annual vetch which scrambles over other shrubs is another Canary endemic

Exploring the PR-TF 71 signposted path from Las Lajas Recreation park above Vilaflor

PR-TF 71 (1 of 12)

A signpost where the path crosses a track

PR-TF 71 (2 of 12)

The path skirts Montana Colorada with fine views, and in the foreground Tenerife Birds Foot Trefoil (Lotus campylocladus)

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.

PR-TF 71 (3 of 12)

A lovely view to Roque Imoque and Roque de los Brezos near Ifonche, through pines and a carpet of yellow Tenerife Birds Foot Trefoil, a Tenerife endemic.

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.

PR-TF 71 (5 of 12)

Mountain Figwort (Scrophularia glabrata), a Canary endemic, next to one of the yellow/white paint markers

PR-TF 71 (6 of 12)

Pine forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius), a Canary endemic

 

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.

PR-TF 71 (7 of 12)

Another view to Roque del Conde with the pretty pink Mallow leaved bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) in the foreground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 path through the pine woods shortly after leaving the track

The path through the pine woods shortly after leaving the track

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Walk 3 from the book ‘Tenerife Nature Walks’ revisited on a very clear day

View from Degollada de la Mesa

View from Degollada de la Mesa with clear views of the islands of La Gomera (left) and La Palma (right)

We revisited this walk on Wednesday, 20th January, but did do some minor variations. We walked in a clockwise direction, to ensure that we walked the ridge while it was clear of cloud, though on that particular day it was not a problem as it turned out. 

View to Masca

View to Masca 

 

The main variation we made was on the return from the Albergue de Bolico (point 11 in the book). After taking the path up from the Albergue till reaching the track, we walked only 450m on the track before turning left onto a footpath to cut through the laurel woods rather thancontinue on the yellow/white marked trail on the track. That path took us through the woods joining the book’s route at point 5. These changes resulted in a walk that was only 14.52 km long and took us under 5 hours.

Tenerife viper's bugloss (Echium virescens) on the ridge above Masca

Tenerife viper’s bugloss (Echium virescens) on the ridge above Masca

 

 

Tree heath (Erica arborea) which grows widely on the top of the ridge either side of the path.

Tree heath (Erica arborea) which grows widely on the top of the ridge either side of the path.

 

The day we chose turned out to be exceptionally  clear, and we had the best ever views from the    ridges we walked on. 

A Raven (Corvus corax) on top of a Century plant (Agave americana)

A Raven (Corvus corax) on top of a Century plant (Agave americana)

 

Fleytas walk (10 of 12)

A lovely shady cobbled section of the path above the Albergue de Bolico

Fleytas walk (8 of 12)

A view to Las Portals and Buenavista del Norte from the Masca ridge

Fleytas walk (9 of 12)

Canary holly berries (Ilex canariensis)

Recently cleared obstruction to path

Recently cleared logs which were previously obstructing the path through the woods

Fleytas walk (12 of 12)

Tree sow-thistle (Sonchus canariensis) on the track down to the Erjos lakes.

Shortened version of Walk 15 in the book

 

 

Near the beginning of the walk, the path leaving the Casas del Contador

Near the beginning of the walk, the path leaving the Casas del Contador

Walk 15 in the book Tenerife Nature Walks starts in the village of Las Sabinita, climbs up to the recreation area at El Contador and descends to Villa de Arico.  This walk, which we did last Saturday, 12th December, starts and ends at El Contador, and takes in some of the best scenery in that longer walk.

Approaching the start of the old path we climbed up after the descent on the track.

Approaching the start of the old path we climbed up after the descent on the track. The path leaves from the base of the large pine on the left.

 

We parked at the El Contador recreation area.  This is reached from the roundabout on the edge of Villa de Arico, from where it is signposted up a 7 km single track road.  The road is tarmac all the way to El Contador, although in places it is in need of repair, so it needs to be taken slowly.  There are a few passing places, but we have hardly ever met another vehicle on it, so it’s not so bad as it sounds.

From the parking area we went right, towards the east, following the tarmac to a left-hand bend where there are two signposts, one for the track leading uphill, and the other, straight on, for the path we were to take.  The path passes a group of houses, probably originally a large farm, and plunges downhill from a signpost by the houses.  It crosses a valley and continues a few hundred metres before joining a track.  Turn right on the track.

In order to take in another path in the area, we continued on the track, mainly downhill, for about 1.9km.  Not far from where we joined it we passed a path steeply coming down from the left to join the track.  This was where we would later return.  As we went on down the track we passed on the left is a well-tended farm with vines in terraces up the slope above the track. Continue down until you reach a rather neglected track joining acutely from the left near some neglected vines in some nearby fields. We turned left here and head up the neglected track till it reaches the edge of the pines, as shown in the photo. The track there heads sharp right towards a reservoir, but we take an old but neglected path which heads up beside the large pine on the left in the picture. Initially the path is not very clear, but look up the slope and you will see the stone reinforcements at the side of the path as it zig-zags up the hill on a ridge with great views to the left.

The neglected old path ascending the ridge

The neglected old path ascending the ridge

Nearing the top of the ridge, cross over a large water pipe to reach the other side of the ridge, but do not go too close to the edge, which is a cliff. Also there are some large cracks back from the edge of the cliff, so do not walk on the rock between the cracks and the edge of the cliff. However, get as close as you dare, where it looks safe, to enjoy the delightful view down into the Barranco Tamadaya, a jewel of biodiversity, which is well worth a visit from below.

The view into the Barranco Tamadaya from the cliff.

The view into the Barranco Tamadaya from the cliff.

 

 

A little further on the old path reaches a well-defined yellow/white signposted route which we initially set out on, but left where we continued down the track. Here we turned right to join the yellow/white route and immediately descended to cross a minor barranco, Barranco de las Hiedras, which is one of the feeds for the Barranco Tamadaya below. The barranco is well-polished rock leading around a bend to a drop into the lower Barranco. The path goes up out of the barranco, crosses a ridge and descends into another feeder barranco, Barranco Albarderos, with a dramatic cliff above the path.

The cliff above the path in Barranco Albarderos

The cliff above the path in Barranco Albarderos

The path ascends out of the barranco and goes fairly level for a while with great views, and then climbs a pumice slope to a rocky pinnacle which is the highest point of this walk. There is a steep slope zig-zagging down into a sheltered area where we stopped for our lunch before continuing on the path.

The view across to the cliff as we descended after lunch

The view across to the cliff as we descended after lunch

We decided to continue downhill to take another look at an unusual stone building with a corbelled roof, which is at point 7 of the walk in the book. I have puzzled as to its original purpose, but, approaching from above, it was easier to see the walls supporting terraces on the slightly flatter area in front of the building. I now think it most probably was a very small farmhouse, built entirely of stones because they were the available material, and there was a shortage there of clay to make roof tiles.

The back of the stone building with corralled roof. It has an inscription 'Nov 1872' on its side

The back of the stone building with corralled roof. It has an inscription ‘Nov 1872’ on its side

 

After looking around the building we retraced our steps, climbing nearly 170m back to the highest point, so clearly if you do not want too much climbing, it is best to cut out the bit between the highest point to the stone building, and back. You will still have seen some beautiful views and exciting barrancos.

Returning up the ramp to the highest point on the rocky pinnacle

Returning up the ramp to the highest point on the rocky pinnacle

 

 

When we reached the junction, traversed by the big brown waterpipe, where we had re-joined the yellow and white waymarked route, we went towards the right on the waymarked route to follow it all the way back to the El Contador parking area. This walk was 10.56 km / 6.6 miles and took us 3hr 45m. It involved 586m of climbing and descent. A GPS track of it can be found at the following link, where it can be seen on maps, and downloaded:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=11708427

Returning to El Contador, with Casas del Contador in sight.

Returning to El Contador, with Casas del Contador in sight.

Walk above Chiguergue, Guia de Isora, using newly signposted routes.

The newly cleared path just above Chiguergue

The newly cleared path just above Chiguergue

This walk was done on September 21st to explore a newly signposted route. I had seen the signpost just above the village of Chiguergue several months before, and had tried to find out where the path went, but could find nothing on the internet, or at the tourist office in Guia de Isora. So we decided to walk it.

On the path approaching the pine zone

On the path approaching the pine zone

The signpost said it was a spur off the TF-PR  69 – a footpath from Chio to Vera de Erques. This one was numbered TF-PR 69.1 and was signposted to Chasogo 9.2km. Chasogo is a mountain on the western side of the TF-38 road from Chio to Teide, at around Km 4. However, although we did not follow the path all the way there, I now believe the signs send one to a track just below the mountain, which, if you turned left comes out on the TF-38 around Km 6.

Welcome shade from the pine trees

Welcome shade from the pine trees

I was curious about the route because I could see that it started out, across the TR-38 Teide road, with a newly-cleared footpath I was not familiar with.  So I wondered if there were a lot of newly-cleared paths in this newly signposted route.  However, it turned out it was the only section of path that I and my friends had not previously explored, since Guia de Isora ayuntamiento (local council) cleared a lot of footpaths in a project in 2007-8.  All the same it was good to see that the signage makes the route much more accessible to those who do not know the area, especially as walking in forest can be a little disorientating even if you are a good navigator.

The path crosses the Vergera Canal which transports water from above Los Realejos in the north to Guia de Isora.

The path crosses the Vergera Canal which transports water from above Los Realejos in the north to Guia de Isora.

The path took us up from Chiguergue, across the Vergera canal and onto a ridge from which was a lovely view. It continued up the ridge, then a slight diversion to the right, and again upwards till we reached the TF-38 again after its first big bend. We crossed the road between km 19 and 20 and continued upwards.

A view from the ridge when we first climbed up onto it.

A view from the ridge when we first climbed up onto it.

Soon afterwards we reached a crossroads of paths and continued upwards until we reached a signpost. By this point we had climbed 600m uphill with little respite, on a very warm day, and since we now knew where the path was going to end up, we had had enough climbing. So we decided to take the green and white signposted route downwards, going left at the signpost. It indicated the path went to Chio.

The path TF-PR 69.1 went to the right at this signpost up a footpath known locally as the Camino del Plato.  I have previously walked it and found it a very pleasant walk passing through the pine forest and coming into open country.  It passes some pahoehoe lava from Pico Viejo on its way before reaching a track in the national park.

The signpost in the woods where we turned left, downhill

The signpost in the woods where we turned left, downhill

We followed the Chio signs down to cross the TF-38 again between Km 18 and 19. After crossing the road the path crossed a track and then rejoined the same track lower down. At this point we could have gone left onto a faint, but clear track and later turned right down another path descending another ridge to arrive back near where we started. Instead we continued down the green and white path, which for a while was comfortable walking as it followed a smooth pahoehoe lava with large crystals in it.

The path here was paved by a smooth pahoehoe lava flow with large crystals in it.

The path here was paved by a smooth pahoehoe lava flow with large crystals in it.

 

 

However, after crossing a track, the descending path became very unpleasant to walk, being steep and covered in loose rocks. Eventually it came down to the TF-38 just above Chio, and we had to turn left and walk approximately 2 km along the road to get back to where we started.

The loose stony path down to Chio

The loose stony path down to Chio

 

 

 

A delightful shady walk from Chanajiga picnic area in the Orotava valley

A section of the path climbing through the forest

A section of the path climbing through the forest

July has been very hot here in Tenerife, but the temperatures have gone down to pleasanter levels this week so we did this walk last Wednesday, 28th July. The forecast was good for the Orotava valley, with full sun and no cloud predicted. This is important for the upper Orotava valley as Chanajiga picnic area is in the cloud forest zone at the foot of the steep forested slope of the valley and is frequently in the cloud and although we wanted a walk in the shade of the forest, we preferred not to be in the cloud which takes away the chances of views and can also be quite disorientating.

A view of the top of the Orotava valley through a gap in the trees

A view of the top of the Orotava valley through a gap in the trees

We approached the Orotava valley on the north motorway – TF-5 – and went through some rain, so were wondering if it was the right day, but then saw sunshine ahead so continued up the Orotava valley. As we neared Chanajiga there was light cloud, but when we got there we were just above the cloud, in lovely sunshine. We left the main road through the Orotava valley at the junction in Camino de Chasna, signposted Benijos and Palo Blanco. After passing through Benijos we came to a turning left with a signpost to Chanajiga. From there on the road is very rural and we even came across a goatherd with a small flock of goats grazing the sides of the road.

Sticky Broom (Adenocarpus foliosus) along the track on the ridge

Sticky Broom (Adenocarpus foliosus) along the track on the ridge. A Canary endemic

When we arrived at Chanajiga I discovered I did not have the GPS track we had intended to follow on my GPS. I thought I had loaded it but did not check it before leaving the house. So we decided to do a bit of exploring and we might find the route intended, or part of it, or not as the case may be. We started off scrambling up an exceedingly steep unofficial path, which I am not recommending, till we got to a track, where we turned left and walked a little way till we saw a very well defined path crossing the track diagonally, and decided to go up that.

A Canary Blue butterfly (Cyclyrius webbianus) resting on my hand

A Canary Blue butterfly (Cyclyrius webbianus) resting on my hand

The path was going up a very steep hill, but with zig-zags it was not excessively steep to climb. There was shade from pines above the path and at intervals views through them to the mountains at the top of the Orotava valley, and the sea of cloud beneath. The day felt warm for the climb and we were glad of a gentle breeze through the trees.

A flower of the Pine forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius) in the shrubby vegetation on the ridge

A flower of the Pine forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius) in the shrubby vegetation on the ridge

Very suddenly the path came out on a wide dusty track, so we found we had reached the top of the steep side of the valley. At this point the footpath continued to the left, starting parallel to the track, but probably diverging from it – to be explored another time! We joined the track, and, after a lunch break, walked steeply downhill on the track. The track had very mixed vegetation either side, of the type found on the edge of the laurel forest with Fayas (Myrica faya) and Madrono (Arbutus canariensis), and lots of different flowering shrubs such as Sticky Broom (Adenocarpus foliosus), Pine forest Cistus (Cistus symphytifolius), Shrubby Burnet (Bencomia caudata), Shrubby scabious (Pterocephalus lasiospermus) along with Tenerife Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus campylocladus). The flowers and sunshine on the edge of the forest attracted many butterflies including Canary Blues (Cyclyrius webbianus), Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice) and Clouded Yellows (Colias crocea).

Daphne (Daphne gnidium) by the track

Daphne (Daphne gnidium) by the track

We descended on the track from around 1600m to just below 1350m where we came to a track crossroads and decided to turn right. The track we were now on was the same track we had reached first reached near the beginning of the walk, but nearly 2 km to the north. It was a delightful shady walk, roughly level with cliffs to the right where the track had been carved out of the hillside.

Shrubby scabious (Pterocephalus lasiospermus)

Shrubby scabious (Pterocephalus lasiospermus) A Canary endemic

Beside the track, on the rocks, were shrubby plants with flowers, including Cardo de Cristo (Carlina salicifolia) or Willow-leaved carline thistle, and Cruzadilla (Hypericum reflexum) or Reflexed St Johns Wort. At the base of the rocks Wild Marjoram (Oreganum vulgare) and Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) were flowering.

Cruzadilla (Hypericum reflexum) or Reflexed St Johns Wort. A canarian endemic

Cruzadilla (Hypericum reflexum) or Reflexed St Johns Wort. A canarian endemic

 

We got to the path junction where we had turned uphill earlier, and this time we went down on the path the other side of the track. This was a gentle descent, which after a while crossed a barranco and passed some buildings of the Galeria de la Zarza. Continuing on we joined a track and turned downhill. A hundred metres or so on we saw a cairn on the left of the track and a well used footpath going downhill. However, it was badly eroded by rain and bicycle use, with loose stones on a very steep slope, so we decided to continue on the track. The path would probably be OK to climb, but it looked somewhat dangerous going down. Soon the track reached a T-junction and we turned left to return to Chanajiga.

 

The level shady track

The level shady track

Because our initial ascent was not recommended, I have edited the GPS track to start and finish the walk on the same path. The walk should still only take about 3.5 hours. The GPS track can be found here: http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=setCurrentSpatialArtifact&id=10339097

The path we made our final descent on.  I have edited the GPS track to use this same path for the initial climb also

The path we made our final descent on. I have edited the GPS track to use this same path for the initial climb also

A walk around Erjos lakes with flowers and lots of butterflies

View from the ridge over the lakes to Mt Teide

View from the ridge over the lakes to Mt Teide

This walk was done last Wednesday, 24th June, on a warm sunny day with fluffy drifting clouds occasionally blocking views. It is a very varied walk through a variety of environments including laurel forest, pine forest and the lakeside area. Consequently we saw a range of different flowers, and butterflies, in the different areas.

Annual houseleek (Airchryson laxum) in the wall at the side of the sunken lane between Erjos and the lakes.

Annual houseleek (Airchryson laxum) in the wall at the side of the sunken lane between Erjos and the lakes

 

 

 

We parked in the centre of Erjos, behind the square and followed the signposts across the main road, down some steps beside the church, across a minor road, and straight on down the road opposite to the right angle bend in the road where a path drops down past a high wall and around an old water reservoir. We were now in the sunken lane which leads to the lakes, by which we would return, but we immediately turned right up another path, signposted to Las Portelas and Monte del Agua. This leads up towards some communications masts where we meet a track.

A Canary Blue butterfly, with wings closed, on a wild thyme plant, (Micromeria sp.)

A Canary Blue butterfly, with wings closed, on a wild thyme plant, (Micromeria sp.)

 

Instead of walking along the track, we took a path up from the corner, marked with a yellow and white cross. This can be overgrown with brambles, but was not bad this time, and our group helped to clear some of the stems encroaching on the path with secateurs, as we passed. The path climbs up to the top of a ridge which, after a little while, overlooks the Erjos lakes in the valley below. There are also fine views over the lakes to Mt Teide, and the volcanic landscape between.

A Brown Argus butterfly (Aricia agestis), one of many flying as we walked along the ridge

A Brown Argus butterfly (Aricia agestis cramera), one of many flying as we walked along the ridge

 

 

On the ridge we saw many Canary Blue butterflies (Cyclyrius webbianus) and Brown Argus (Aricia agestis cramera). The photos are not the best, as the subjects do not stay still long! And with other walkers I cannot linger too long! After walking along the ridge some way, with ups and downs we met a track coming up from the lakes, joined it for a few yards and then took a path right into the laurel forest. (Note this was not the first path on the right down into the forest – there is one just before you reach the track)

Forest bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), along the path in the laurel forest

Forest bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), along the path in the laurel forest

The path in the laurel forest is roughly level with only slight ups and downs. It goes through an area affected by the forest fire in 2007. The burnt laurels grow up from the base again, leaving the burnt trunks standing, but now they are rotting at the base they are falling, often across the path! So there are a few obstacles on the path, but nothing major as some cutting has been done. The fire allowed light to get through to the forest floor, and since then there have been a wealth of flowers through this part. Those in flower at this time of year included Balm of Gilead (Cedronella canariensis), Malfurada (Hypericum grandifolium), Reina del monte (‘Mountain queen’) (Ixanthus viscosus), Forest Bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), Canary Islands Buttercup (Ranunculus cortusifolius), and Canary Islands Cranesbill (Geranium reuteri). The last two had nearly finished flowering. The butterflies seen in the laurel forest were the Canary speckled woods (Pararge xiphioides).

A section of the path through the laurel forest, complete with fallen trunk.

A section of the path through the laurel forest, complete with fallen trunk.

In the forest at the first path junction we went right, then shortly after we took a right fork down to the Fuente de los Loros, a lovely spot where a tap drips water out of a rocky outcrop. Because of the water, you can hear plentiful bird life in the vicinity. Returning to the fork, we continued on the other path, turning left shortly afterwards to join a track, turning right along it, and walking down to an open col, the Cumbre de Bolico, where the track turns sharply to the right. At this bend we took a signposted path, up to the left. The path continued up gently, with beautiful views to the right down towards the rugged landscape around Masca till we arrived at the col called the Degollada de la Mesa where we had our lunch.

A view towards Masca from the path between Cumbre de Bolico and Degollada de la Mesa

A view towards Masca from the path between Cumbre de Bolico and Degollada de la Mesa

 

 

 

After lunch we continued following the yellow and white waymarked path over the col, down towards Santiago del Teide, until we reached the end of a track, where we turned left. This track winds around Mt Gala, the mountain with the fire watchtower and communications masts, until it reaches the tarmaced access track to the tower and masts. Here we should have continued across the track following the yellow and white marked path down to the lakes, but instead we decided to walk down the track and turn down another path towards the lakes, which was, I believe, the Camino Real or Royal Road, from Santiago del Teide to Erjos. However a short distance before this path joins the tracks around the lakes, it is badly overgrown with brambles, so we had to do a long detour through the overgrown abandoned fields to find a way around the brambles.

A Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina) feeds from a Roof Houseleek (Aeonium urbicum var meridionale)

A Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina) feeds from a Roof Houseleek (Aeonium urbicum var meridionale)

After that adventure we just had to walk along the track by the lakes, and rejoin the yellow and white route, through the delightful sunken lanes, back to the village of Erjos.  On the way we saw Bath White butterflies, Small white, Clouded yellow and Canary Red Admirals.

The walk was approximately 12 km and involved around 450m of climbing, mainly in small ups and downs. It took us nearly 5 hours, at a leisurely summer pace, enjoying the surroundings.

A Bath White butterfly (Pontia daplidice) feeding from a Milk Thistle flower (Silybum marianum)

A Bath White butterfly (Pontia daplidice) feeding from a Milk Thistle flower (Silybum marianum)

An early summer flower and butterfly walk near San Jose de los Llanos

Setting out on the path that descends from the unopened Eco Museum

Setting out on the path that descends from the unopened Eco Museum

 

We did this walk last Wednesday, 3rd June. It did not go to plan because of a path overgrown with brambles which resulted in us turning back and having to do an alternative walk to that planned. So I will not be describing the walk in detail, or sharing a GPS trail because it was a fairly haphazard route. I just wanted to share the delights of the flowers and butterflies we saw in the area.

Pine forest cistus (Cistus symphytifolium)

Pine forest cistus (Cistus symphytifolium)

In the south of Tenerife now, where I live, the flowers are getting hard to find, as it is now so dry after a dry winter and a very hot heatwave a couple of weeks ago, which finished off a lot of greenery. However, just over the watershed between Santiago del Teide and Erjos, there are still some flowers, so that is why we planned a walk there.

 

 

 

Cardinal butterfly (Argynnis pandora) on a Marian milk thistle (Silybum marina)

Cardinal butterfly (Argynnis pandora) on a Marian milk thistle (Silybum marina)

We parked at the start of the track to the rural hotel which leaves the Eco Museum roundabout about 1km west of the turning to San Jose de los Llanos on the TF-373. (The Eco Museum is a low traditional building to the north of the roundabout which was built and completed a few years ago but has not yet opened.  The building is used once a year for a threshing festival in late July, but is otherwise unused.)

Yellow under Pearl moth (Uresiphita polygonalis)

Yellow under Pearl moth (Uresiphita polygonalis)

We planned to do a circle starting to the north of the road, crossing at San Jose de los Llanos and finishing the circle on the south of the road, which we did, but not quite the route planned.  The north side of the road has some remnants of laurel forest, and a lot of lush vegetation, with little farms in between, whereas the south side of the road is the edge of the pine forest, with a shrub covered open area around the rural hotel.

Red Madeiran sorrel - Codeso -(Rumex maderiensis) in front of the yellow-flowered bush of Sticky Broom (Adenocarpus foliosus) near the rural hotel

Red Madeiran sorrel -(Rumex maderiensis) in front of the yellow-flowered bush of Sticky Broom – Codeso -(Adenocarpus foliosus) near the rural hotel

 

Unfortunately the lushness of the area favours the growth of brambles, which we encountered blocking the path as we descended to the delightful patch of laurel forest we discovered only last July. On that walk we had encountered a very difficult and overgrown part of the path at the end of a lovely path through the laurels. This time we met a barrier of brambles before we reached that bit. Even though we had secateurs, we would have taken a long time cutting our way through the bit we saw, and we still did not know if last year’s bad patch would have been cleared so we turned around.

A neglected field full of  field poppies (Papaver rhoeas), with a little blue Vipers Bugloss (Echium vulgare) and yellow field marigolds

A neglected field full of field poppies (Papaver rhoeas), with a little blue Vipers Bugloss (Echium vulgare) and yellow field marigolds

From San Jose de los Llanos we took the track from the top of the road that passes Bar Risco and on the edge of the pines we saw several Cardinal butterflies. We were also seeing many Meadow Brown butterflies in the grassy areas, though most were uncooperative for photos! The Clouded yellow butterflies we saw lots of were all camera shy! We also saw Yellow under Pearl moths flying, and Bath White, and Canary Blue butterflies in quite large numbers. Then towards the end of the walk, we saw two Small Copper butterflies.

Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina)

Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina)

So I am sorry the photos are not the best, on walks it is difficult to take the necessary time to get good butterfly and moth photos – and I don’t carry my big camera either.  As it is I am not very popular with my walking companions for breaking off conversations on a butterfly hunt, and ending up well behind and having to catch up!

Malfurada (Hypericum grandifolium), a yellow flowered plant typical of the laurel forest and its edges, in front of the more Madeira sorrel

Malfurada (Hypericum grandifolium), a yellow flowered plant typical of the laurel forest and its edges, in front of the more Madeira sorrel

 

However, I hope the description of some of the lovely flowers and butterflies and moths that can be seen will inspire you to go out and look for them.

Small Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)

Small Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)

The path near the end of our walk passed through this narrow valley between two hills.

The path near the end of our walk passed through this narrow valley between two hills.

A stroll in the Teide National Park to see the fantastic endemic flowers

A group of Teide Vipers Bugloss - Tajinaste rojo - (Echium wildpretii) on the slope of the caldera wall

A group of Teide Vipers Bugloss – Tajinaste rojo – (Echium wildpretii) on the slope of the caldera wall

This is to let all my readers know, to hurry up to the National Park in the next 2-3 weeks to enjoy the festival of flowers there at the moment. Yes the Teide Viper’s Bugloss, or Tajinastes rojos, (Echium wildpretii) are out already, even though it’s earlier than usual. There is also a fantastic display of Mountain wallflowers, Alhelí, (Erysimum scoparium), and Teide catmint, Tonática, (Nepeta teydea) on the slopes around Boca de Tauce which were affected by the forest fire in 2012. I have never seen such a profusion of colourful flowers in that area as there is this year.

Mountain wallflower - Alheli - (Erysimum scoparium)

Mountain wallflower – Alheli – (Erysimum scoparium)

And for those of you who are not great walkers, or who have friends who are not, this short walk will get you up close to the plants without walking very far, or on very rough surfaces, but far enough from the road to be able to enjoy it.

My friends and I parked at the Mirador which is between Km 3 and Km 4 on the road from Chio to Boca de Tauce, the TF-38. It is the mirador which looks up at the Narices del Teide (Teide’s nostrils) on Pico Viejo. From the parking area we crossed the road and took a path which runs behind the crash barrier for a few yards and then turns away. It heads first in a northerly direction and then wanders through the lava towards the west and finally ends up heading south and eventually joins a track at the foot of the caldera wall. This path is on lava and is mostly comprised of small lava pebbles, so not the most comfortable walking surface. If the roughness of the path bothers you, instead of taking the path from directly opposite the parking at the Mirador, walk down the road towards Boca de Tauce (roughly south) for about 300m till you see a track on the right, which you take. Walk towards the caldera wall and there you meet where the path joins the track.

Teide catmint (Nepeta teydea)

Teide catmint (Nepeta teydea)

At the bend in the track where the path joins, you start to see the flowers. Initially some Escobon plants (Chaemacytisus proliferus) with white broom-like flowers, a canary endemic widely used for animal fodder. Continuing further, past a rocky part of the caldera wall, the slope opens out on the right and the Tajinastes begin, accompanied by Mountain wallflowers. Continue on the track, past an open sandy area which is underlain by ‘ropey’ lava, and continue up a slight slope on the track to another area on the right with lots of Tajinastes, mixed with Mountain wallflowers, Teide catmint and Mountain figwort (Scrophularia glabrata). On the left are also some bright yellow Sticky Broom flowers or Codeso del monte, (Adenocarpus viscosus) making a contrasting colour.

The slope of the caldera wall covered in pines and Mountain wallflower giving a beautiful mauve haze

The slope of the caldera wall covered in pines and Mountain wallflower giving a beautiful mauve haze

You could then turn around and retrace your steps, but if you fancy a longer walk, continue up the track to a bend, where a signposted footpath goes to the left. If you follow that footpath along the foot of the caldera wall, and for one section, on the lava, you will see more flowers, including a whole slope covered in Teide catmint with a haze of deep purple up the slope. You will arrive at the National Park information post near to Boca de Tauce in the building called Casa Juan Evora. You can then either return the same way, or walk back on the road (not really recommended). Of course, if you planned in advance you could organise one car at each end.

Flowers of the Sticky broom - Codeso del monte - (Adenocarpus viscous)

Flowers of the Sticky broom – Codeso del monte – (Adenocarpus viscous)

The walk my friends and I did was just over 6 km (both there and back) and we took 2.5 hours. It could have been considerably less, but we were stopping a lot, looking at the flowers and taking photos. If you extend the walk to Boca de Tauce as suggested the walk in both directions will add up to between 8.5 and 10 km depending whether you take the path or track at the beginning and end.

More Teide Vipers Bugloss - Tajinaste rojo - with Mountain wallflowers - Alheli

More Teide Vipers Bugloss – Tajinaste rojo – with Mountain wallflowers – Alheli

Enjoy the floral spectacle!

Teide Marguerite -margarita del Teide - (Argyranthemum teneriffae) in the lava beside the road

Teide Marguerite -margarita del Teide – (Argyranthemum teneriffae) in the lava beside the road

A short walk from Tamaimo

The start of the climb up to the Cruz de los Misioneros, with a tall specimen of Canary Tree Bindweed (Convolvulus floridus) in full flower on the right of the path

The start of the climb up to the Cruz de los Misioneros, with a tall specimen of Canary Tree Bindweed (Convolvulus floridus) in full flower on the right of the path

Another walk from Tamaimo, which had plenty of floral interest. We did it last Wednesday, 22nd April, on a glorious sunny day, so the views from the ridge above Tamaimo were great.

The climb towards the Cruz de los Misioneros

The climb towards the Cruz de los Misioneros

We went up the path signposted to the Cruz de los misioneros, which climbs steeply up to the white cross on the ridge to the north of Tamaimo. The path is steep but easy to follow and with plenty of rock steps making the walking easy. It was not the dangerously loose scree path I remembered descending a number of years ago, so that was a pleasant surprise. That was the main reason I had not walked this path since then. So the first half of the walk was relatively new to us, but the second half was the same as end of the walk we did in February which I wrote a blog about entitled A scenic and botanically interesting circular walk from Tamaimo, Santiago del Teide

Aeonium sedifolium was hanging off the rocks and cliffs

Aeonium sedifolium was hanging off the rocks and cliffs

We walked from the church in Tamaimo following the yellow and white signs to the Cruz de los misioneros till we came onto a footpath taking us to the barranco streambed, which we crossed, and began the ascent, following the signs.

The Cruz de los Misioneros, on a rocky knoll with beautiful views

The Cruz de los Misioneros, on a rocky knoll with beautiful views

'Queen's crown', Corona de la Reina (Gonospermum fruticosum)

‘Queen’s crown’, Corona de la Reina (Gonospermum fruticosum)

The Retama (Retama raetam)bushes and the Canary Tree Bindweed (Convolvulus floridus), were both covered in white flowers from the barranco streambed until quite high up the ridge. As we neared the top the rocks had clumps of Aeonium sedifolium hanging off them, covered in yellow flowers, and there were also the yellow flowers of the “Queen’s crown” (Corona de la reina) (Gonospermum fruticosum) and the Madama (Allagopappus dichotomus). On the top of the ridge there were also a lot of Kicksia scoparia again with yellow flowers, with a spur on the base, blowing in the wind on their grass-like stems.

The waving stems of Kicksia scoparia on the rocky ridge.  It was also very plentiful on the path down.

The waving stems of Kicksia scoparia on the rocky ridge. It was also very plentiful on the path down.

We walked up to the knoll where the cross is mounted and enjoyed the beautiful views in all directions, including to Teide, the Santiago Valley and Teno. Then we decided to continue following the yellow and white marked trail up higher to cross the top of the Montaña de Gauma and then down the ridge.  The climb from the Cruz de los Misioneros to the top of Mt Guama was steep with many rock steps which were easily climbed, ably led by Andy Tenerife Walker who does Guided walking for tourists.  Visit his Facebook page and website for more information if you are interested.   http://www.tenerife-guided-walks.comMadama (Allagopappus dichotomus)

Madama (Allagopappus dichotomus)

As we continued down the ridge the vegetation was dominated by Retama and canarian Spurges (Euphorbia lamarckii mixed with the Retama, and Euphorbia canariensis on the rocky bits). However, as we descended other plants were interspersed, including Parolinia intermedia, Neochamaelea pulverulenta, and Justicia hyssopifolia. All of these I mentioned and illustrated in my previous blog, but the Justicia was not then in flower, so I have added a picture with flowers this time.

Andy Tenerife Walker leading the way up some rock steps on the path above the Cruz de los Misioneros.  There were several rock steps like this before we reached the top of Mt Guama

Andy Tenerife Walker leading the way up some rock steps on the path above the Cruz de los Misioneros. There were several rock steps like this before we reached the top of Mt Guama

View from Mt Guama to the coast

View from Mt Guama to the coast

We continued down the path till it turned left to descend to the valley, and had our lunch break on the rocks overlooking the Los Gigantes harbour. Then we went down into the valley, turning left at a T-junction of paths with a signpost, to return to Tamaimo.

The view to Los Gigantes harbour, from our lunch spot

The view to Los Gigantes harbour, from our lunch spot

 

The walk took us 3.75 hours and was approximately 7km / 4.4miles long with 492m of ascent.