I have not visited the Barranco del Infierno for several years because much of that time it has been closed to the public, but it is now open again. The paths have been considerably improved, although they are still rough in places and do need good suitable shoes or boots. Numbers are now limited to 300 people per day and this makes it much more comfortable to walk. This means you need to book your visit in advance, which is easy on the website. I was able to book in July the day before, but I suspect at busy times of year it will be necessary to book much further in advance. The website is: http://www.barrancodelinfierno.es/en/
July is not the best time of year to visit the Barranco because much of the vegetation is shutting down for the summer, losing leaves, and so on. In fact I was not expecting to see many flowers at all, or to see much water in the waterfall and stream, but in both cases I was pleasantly surprised. So it was still an enjoyable and interesting experience. We did make a fairly early start, though, at 9.30 and finished our visit when Adeje’s church clock was striking 12.00. It was already getting quite hot in the sun in the barranco, so we were pleased to finish early.
The Barranco is an amazing landscape. It starts at the top of Calle Molinos, a very steep street right at the top edge of the old town of Adeje. There is an entrance office where you buy or show your tickets, and an area where a briefing is given about the rules of entry, and where helmets are provided for visitors to wear. After that you make your way into the Barranco along the well-defined path, which you are not allowed to leave. The path is both the way in and the return route, so as the day goes on returning visitors meet incoming visitors, and in places the path is so narrow, that one or other has to give way. The fact that entering visitors are in time batches, and the total numbers are limited, means this is not such a problem as it would be with uncontrolled numbers.
At the start of the path the barranco is wide and there is view across it to the flat-topped Roque del Conde. As you walk further into the barranco it narrows, until it becomes a very narrow gorge, and finally ends with a 200m sheer cliff down which the water falls, down into a small pool which then flows out into a stream with various rock worn pools on the way. In the first, open, part of the barranco has an ecosystem dominated by Euphorbias, like most of the coastal areas. The middle part contains a thermophile ecosystem with a greater variety of plants, many of them requiring a moister atmosphere than the first part. In this part are examples of typical plants such as the Almaciga (Pistacia atlantica) ,Tree Bindweed – Guaydil (Convolvulus floridus), Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia) and Ceballosia (Ceballosia fruticosa). All of these, except a few Lavatera, had already flowered and so I was unable to get pictures. The other abundant plants that were in flower in this area were the Balo (Plocama pendula) and the Mataprieta (Justicia hyssopifolia) both of which are Canary endemics.
The remaining part, the gorge, contains little on the ground between the sheer walls apart from the stream, the path, various Canary Willow trees (Salix canariensis) and Sweet Chestnut trees (Castanea sativa), and brambles. The only really interesting plants were water plants and the local endemic plant, Lechugilla del Teno (where it also grows) (Tolpis crassiscula), which is listed in the Red Book as vulnerable. I was pleased to see a large number of these growing and flowering beside the path and up the cliffs.
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.
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
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 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.
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.com
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.
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 walk took us 3.75 hours and was approximately 7km / 4.4miles long with 492m of ascent.