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Canary Islands, Tenerife: Teide National Park. Hiking through one of the most emblematic settings of the Teide National Park: Sendero de los Roques de García

Canary Islands, Tenerife: Teide National Park #1

Hiking through one of the most emblematic settings of the Teide National Park: Sendero de los Roques de García

February 2020

Our planning for this day was to climb the Pico del Teide (Teide Peak); we had the tickets for the cable car and the free permission to access the Telesforo Bravo path that gives access to the crater, all booked 4 months in advance.

We woke up early, the day was generally clear, before 9 am we had the car parked in the parking lot of the cable car base station, when we arrived we noticed that there was a cloud surrounding the Pico del Teide and at the ticket office we were confirmed that the cable car was temporarily closed due to adverse weather conditions at the top station. However, we were told that we should wait until 11 am as conditions were expected to improve and we could still use our ticket and permission at that time.

While we waited, we looked for an alternative route nearby and, without a doubt, a must visit inside the Teide National Park are the Roques de García.

Sendero de los Roques de García

Without a doubt, the area of the Roques de García is one of the most visited areas of the National Park. A paved road takes you directly to the place where you can take the typical photo of the Roque Cinchado at the forefront with the Teide in the background. At this point you can access the Mirador de La Ruleta (La Ruleta Lookout Point) from where you can contemplate part of the Llano de Ucanca (a huge sedimentary plain) and it is also the beginning of the Roques de García path, a circular route of 3.5 km (2,1 mi) with a little over 200 m (655 ft) of positive altitude change concentrated mostly at the end of the path, which makes it relatively easy for the general public.

La Ruleta Lookout Point
Sendero de los Roques de García #1
Sendero de los Roques de García #2
Sendero de los Roques de García #3
Sendero de los Roques de García #4

The official path is perfectly marked out to respect the flora and fauna of the area. The walk allows us to contemplate type Aa lava flows, which the locals call "malpaís" (bad country) because they have sharp, irregular edges and Pahoehoe flows, which are fluid and viscous. Unfortunately, due to the time of year, spring had not yet arrived, and we could not enjoy the flowering tajinastes, which must surely provide a beautiful contrast in this volcanic environment.

The beginning of the route is flat so that after the crossing of the path that goes up to the Pico Viejo we turn left and start to descend towards the Llano de Ucanca, gaining more and more prominence an impressive rock formation of about 100 m (328 ft) high, which they call "La Catedral" (The Cathedral), a lava outlet duct that ended up solidifying without reaching the surface and that later became visible by the sinking and gravitational slide of the immense volcano before the formation of the Teide. After skirting this large volcanic pipe, we will begin the ascent that returns us to the starting point of this route.

Sendero de los Roques de García #5
Sendero de los Roques de García #6
Sendero de los Roques de García #7

For people like us, who are not familiar with the volcanic environment, it is undoubtedly a route that leaves you in awe if we think about the forces that shaped this immense place.

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Back to the cable car

Back at the base station of the cable car, where we were waiting for the weather conditions to improve so that we could go up to the upper station and complete our ascent to Pico del Teide, we were told that the service was going to remain closed. The alternatives were to get our money back or since we had also booked access to the Telesforo Bravo path we were given the option to try again within 2 days at the same time, exchanging the tickets free of charge and maintaining the validity of the reservation for the path. Of course, this last option filled us with excitement after the disappointment of the weather.

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