We visited the Teide National Park twice during our stay in Tenerife. Driving from the beach into the evergreens and mountains was quite a change and I thought we were no longer on Tenerife but in some other place! In the center of the park is the Teide, Spain’s highest volcano. You can take the cable car up and it drops you off not on the very top of the peak but very close. From there you can hike to the top if you have a permit. You can apply online for the free permit before you travel to Tenerife. This is to limit the number of people hiking to the crater. You can also hike from the base of the Teide to the top. We thought about doing that but decided not to. Instead, we did two other worthwhile hikes.
Hike #1 – Guajara
Guajara is Tenerife’s fourth highest peak. The hike starts from the Parador, the park’s hotel.
We followed the Siete Cañadas for a little while before finally climbing up to the ridge.
We made it up to the ridge on the east side of the Guajara. Due to fog we couldn’t see the south coast of Tenerife.
After more of a climb, we made it to the summit. We had great views of the Teide and the Las Cañadas, which are the plains surrounding the Teide. A great caldera encircles the Teide.
There are three options for getting back to the starting point at the Parador. You can take the same way that you came up, you can travel down a rocky ravine on the west side or follow another trail that leads around the backside of the Guajara and down into the valley. Christian suggested the ravine route. We hiked for about five minutes and I said I couldn’t (wouldn’t) do it! There was just way too much exposure & I am always afraid of falling off the path and down the mountain!! So we hiked back up and started on the longer but safer route of hiking around the backside of the mountain.
It was a good choice for awhile. We hiked over fine volcanic rock.
We climbed further down and then got to an intersection where we needed to decide which direction to go. Christian had our hiking book with us & was a little confused by the signs but thought okay, this must be where we are on the map. We will continue on. We kept going but never seemed to turn back towards the valley. By the time we got to the next sign, we were pretty much on the outskirts of the park and had only two kilometers to go before we hit the town outside of the park called Vilaflor. It would take us way too long to hike back into the park, so we just walked to the town. We ended up taking a taxi back into the park to where our car was parked!
Hike #2 – Pico Viejo del Teide
Pico Viejo is the old peak of Teide & the second highest volcano on Tenerife. We started at the viewpoint parking lot, MIrador de Chio. We hiked parallel to the road until turning towards the Pico Viejo. We steadily climbed through volcanic gravel.
Three-quarters of the way up, we came upon this small crater.
Then the terrain became more rocky.
We made it up to the crater, took a few pictures and then headed down a bit to where the path meets up with the trail that you can take to get to the Teide.
Again, there are many options for getting back down. You can hike either hike the way you came, hike down another trail (TF-28) but you will have to walk along the road a ways to get back to your car or hike down through lava fields that leads directly to the car. We chose the lava fields.
The two hikes that we did were long & I was so thankful to have my hiking poles. The weather was perfect; sunny, not too warm & no rain. Of course it was a bit breezy on the peaks. Unfortunately, I did suffer from altitude sickness on both hikes. I was fine on the top of the peaks and it was shortly after I started to descend that I started to get a headache & not feel so great. I made sure that I drank lots of water & ate snacks all along the way. My headache and my stomach queasiness disappeared both times shortly after we arrived back at the apartment on the coast. I was grateful it didn’t last longer.
There are tons more hiking trails in the park that would probably be nice to explore. We wanted to hike different parts of the whole island, so we just limited ourselves to two days, which was perfect for a taste of the park.