Three Essential Hiking Trails on La Palma
30 March, 2015
La Palma is one of the most beautiful islands in the Atlantic. Unlike its sisters in the Canary Island archipelago, it is blessed with a highly fertile ecosystem endowed with outstanding natural traits, making this an idyllic island. Indigenous fauna and flora are an integral part of its spectacular scenery. Its well-kept natural environment is ideal for enjoying an alternative, exciting holiday, doing all kinds of sports and indulging in activities close to nature.
This authentic Eden for ramblers offers a host of options for hikers. Before setting out, you are advised to check the weather forecast and to avoid walking alone. Let someone know what route you are taking and the time you are due to return. You need to take a small back-pack with a warm jacket, a raincoat, food and plenty of water and don’t forget essentials such as a hat, sunblock and sunglasses, as well as a mobile phone with the battery charged, a map and, if possible, a compass. Observe the signposting along the route and keep to the track and, above all, make sure you wear proper hiking boots. You are also advised to check the gradient, walking distance and duration of the hike on the website, www.senderosdelapalma.com. Of all the various routes, we have made a selection of three, with different difficulty ratings, which will allow you to admire the aforementioned scenic diversity of "The Beautiful Island":
Puerto de Tazacorte – Roque de Los Muchachos
This itinerary has a high difficulty rating and is intended for experienced sportspeople. The main difficulty lies in the pronounced gradient. You are urged to avoid the hike in summer or on particularly hot days, while in winter, take into account that it rises to high altitudes and you may even encounter snow and ice on the Roque de los Muchachos. The route covers a distance of 17.16 kilometres, with an accumulated slope of 2,600 m. The route starts at Puerto de Tazacorte, at sea level. From there, it rises steadily for 3.8 kilometres as far as El Time. It then runs past Hoya Grande and Risco de las Pareditas, where it is wise to stop to regain your strength and take in the marvellous scenery at an altitude of 1,500 metres. There are still nearly 7 kilometres to go before reaching the end of the route, after passing through Hoya del Estrabito, Pinos Gachos and Degollada de Las Palomas, where the slope is gentler up to the finish. The high points of this route are the stunning views of the Barranco de las Angustias gorge and those of the Caldera de Taburiente from the Roque de los Muchachos.
Cubo de la Galga
This trail has a low difficulty rating and is therefore suitable for taking children along. Signposted as the GR 130, it starts and finishes at La Galga, Puntallana, at the intersection with the GR 130. The overall walking distance is 12.4 km, with an accumulated slope of 750 metres, and the estimated walking time is 3 hours 45 minutes. The route takes you through the Parque Natural de Las Nieves, a protected nature reserve so spectacular you are unlikely to switch off your camera. The trail is negotiated in two sections – one is a circular itinerary, which takes you through the most interesting area, the Cubo de la Galga temperate laurel forest, a warm, humid forest with some frost, featuring huge trees,guaco and lianas, with leaves similar to those of the laurel, hence the name. The other section connects this route to the main road orguagua, as well as to La Galga mountain, where you simply must stop off at the Somada Alta viewpoint, and the GR 130, with the option to continue on to Puntallana or Los Sauces. You can also continue down the PRLP5 footpath to the district of El Pósito, on the main road.
Valencia – Pico Bejenado – Valencia
This is ideal for visitors hiking with the family. The route is circular and, if you complete it, covers a total of 10 km, rising from 1,100 to 1,800 metres. The estimated walking time for the circuit is three hours and the whole trail is confined to the limits of La Caldera de Taburiente National Park. You can drive up to the end of the dirt road in the Valencia district. From there, you set out on foot along the PRLP 13.3 footpath as far as El Bejenado. The ascent to the summit of this mountain follows a winding trail through pine forest and takes an hour and a half. The route affords some superb views, both of the interior of La Caldera de Taburiente and towards the Route of the Volcanoes and the whole of the Aridane Valley. Also, don’t forget to sign the visitors’ book when you get there.
The above are but three of the multiple routes possible, each with a different difficulty rating, designed to take in a maximum of the island’s scenic diversity and lead us past the most emblematic spots – Pinar, Parque Nacional, Angustias, Laurisilva, Puerto Tazacorte, volcanoes, dragon trees, village where time stands still almond trees in blossom, coastal cliffs, etc. For further information, see the Patronato de Turismo de La Palma.
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Text and photos by Patronato de Turismo de La Palma
30 March, 2015