Tenerife is normally known for it's benign climate with blue skies and pleasant temperatures but in recent weeks, the weather has reminded everyone that we are actually in the winter season. The weather has been very cold by Tenerife standards with wind, rain and snow around the island.
This has translated into nothing more than cool, cloudy days with some wind and a few showers on the south and west coasts but high in the mountains, Tenerife has been transformed into a 'winter wonderland' with much snow in the Teide National Park.
A recent walk to the Cuevas Negras, a series of lava tubes below Pico Viejo, was greatly enhanced by the addition of a fair amount of snow still laying on the ground, although this meant we didn't really get to see into many of the caves as the entrances were blocked with hard packed ice and snow making it very dangerous to get too close. This certainly didn't detract from what was a stunning walk in some spectacular volcanic scenery with Teide and Pico Viejo dressed in their winter finery.
Most years, one of the island's most popular walks during January and February is the Almond Blossom walk in the Santiago Valley. This year however, the blossom is very late in flowering and on a recent walk, there were a number of disappointed walkers as we walked the route and saw virtually no flowering blooms at all on the almond trees. Despite this, and a very keen, cold wind, there was still much to enjoy, including some stunning views of Teide draped in it's winter coat. Despite the almond trees not being in bloom, the buds were clearly in evidence and I'm sure it won't be long until the trees burst forth in the usual annual display to delight walkers in the area.
A new route that I have recently added to the programme is a walk around Montaña del Cedro, a mountain forming part of the south-western wall of the Las Cañadas caldera. This walk starts from the Juan Evora museum by Boca de Tauce and initially follows a level path through lava fields formed from the 1798 eruption of Pico Viejo. Pico Viejo is a subsidary peak of the main Teide volcano and although the name means 'old peak', it is in fact younger than the main summit. The origin of the eruption can clearly be seen on the upper slopes of Pico Viejo, this point is known as the Las Narices del Teide or 'the Nostrils of Teide. The route of the walk crosses the lava flow as it heads for Montaña del Cedro and there are stunning views of the lava fields and of the central volcano complex. There are also excellent views across the caldera to Montaña Guajara, the second highest independent summit on the island. The walk eventually climbs onto the caldera rim for more superb views before reaching a small cave housing the Fuente del Cedro. This spring keeps the floor of the cave permanently under water and it's surprising to see water in such an arid landscape. The walk continues now to a firewatch tower and the view changes to give sweeping views down the southwestern flanks of the island to the Guia de Isora region and also to the Teno Mountains around Masca in the west. From the firewatch tower, a wide track is followed back to the lava fields before the route returns via the outward path. The walk takes around 3.5 hours overall and although it is not too difficult, the rewards are great with outstanding scenery throughout.
The walk to the summit of Montana Samara and Las Cuevas Negras passes through some of the most stunning volcanic scenery on the island. Starting from the small parking area alongside the TF38 Chio/Las Canadas road, it is a short climb onto Montana Samara from where there are superb 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside, with Pico Viejo and Teide particularly prominent. After descending, the route climbs steeply towards the Cuevas Negras, a series of lava tubes invisible from the path but well worth locating. Although access to these is blocked by railings, it is still possible to see inside and it's quite a surprise to see small ferns growing in such harsh conditions. From here, the path we descends and follows a return path to the car park through more beautiful, volcanic scenery. Overall, the walk, which is around 11 kilometres, takes around four hours. The photos below were taken on a recent Tenerife Rambler walk.
My name is Gary and I live in the hills of south of Tenerife, having relocated here in 2008 from the UK. I have many years experience of walking in hill and mountain country and have taken part in challenge walks, wild camping trips in the Scottish Highlands and multi-day hikes such as a 190 mile, solo traverse of the Coast to Coast walk across England in 1998. Since then, I have undertaken numerous long-distance walks, you can read about these on my blog, 'The Constant Hiker'