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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

5 of the best trails with high difficulty

Barranco de Masca (Buenavista del Norte)

Continuing from 6 best hiking trails for the whole family, below are the details of 5 of the best trails with high difficulty, for prepared people capable of hard ascents (that's not us!)

Montaña Blanca-Pico del Teide

This is one of the great routes not only of the National Park, but of the Island. Another of the few trails that require an environmental permit from the Cabildo de Tenerife. Due to the restrictions on the number of permits, you have to request a place with a lot of authorization. In addition, it is necessary to book at the hostel, to make the final ascent to the peak of Teide, the highest point in Spain, at dawn after arrival at these facilities. However, the shelter has been closed for some time, waiting for the Cabildo to decide the award of its management. Starting from the side of the volcano, on the Montaña Blanca track, more than 8.3 kilometres of ascent awaits. Lack of oxygen is one of the factors to take into account. The trail starts at 2,300 meters and goes up to 3,500 meters. That is why it is a route not suitable for those looking for a quiet morning. The peak consists of a constant slope, sometimes more than 60% incline, for 5 hours. But once 3,715 meters are reached - official altitude after the last measurement in 2019 - all the efforts are worth it. If the sky is clear, you can see all the islands.

Masca Ravine (Buenavista del Norte)

The iconic ravine in the south of the island reopened on March 27 after 3 years closed for security reasons. Of course, to travel it now you have to ask for permission from the Cabildo, it is forbidden to use the jetty to return by sea - that is, you have to make the ascent back to the Masca hamlet on foot - and to wear a helmet, due to the always latent danger of landslides. One of the main activities that took place at the end of the descent was a boat trip to Los Gigantes in order to avoid the climb on the way back and enjoy the whales that inhabit those waters at the foot of the giant cliffs. Due to the conditions of the jetty, these crossings are currently suspended and the slope must be retraced on foot. During the 10 kilometres of route, the rock walls and the varied vegetation of the ravine will accompany the visitors until they reach the Masca beach and then return to the hamlet. 

Antequera Beach (Anaga)

Leaving the town of Igueste de San Andrés, this route is considered "difficult" by expert mountaineers such as Pedro Millán but "impressive". The trail leads to El Semáforo, an old signalling station for the boats that came to the port of Santa Cruz. Since this track leads to Antequera beach, many hikers choose to organize their return by sea through private services that return them to San Andrés via the Anaga coast. This tour is also aimed at people experienced in hiking, since its high slopes and its steps exposed to the ravine can intimidate less experienced explorers. The terrestrial alternative for the return consists of retracing the road to Igueste again, adding an approximate total of 7 hours to complete the track.

Pico Viejo-Teide

Listed as a route of high difficulty, this trail runs from its beginning at the Parador de Las Cañadas until it ends at the top of the volcano, passing through the famous Pico Viejo crater. The extreme and changing temperatures of the high mountains, such as the altitude and the different slopes make this path a challenge only suitable for experienced mountaineers in search of new challenges. During the 9.3 kilometres that the trail runs, apart from the views offered by the elevated terrain, the Pico Viejo crater awaits. Due to its more than 800 meters in diameter, this location is recognized and is one of the reasons many tourists visit this path.

Afur-Taborno-Palos Hincados (Anaga)

This route through the Barranco de Afur is another of the alternatives to access the beach of Tamadiste, previously mentioned. It is a track of much greater difficulty, travelled by experienced mountaineers and with a length of 10 kilometres. The main difference with its counterpart that passes through Taganana is that it runs through the Palos Hincados section, with areas quite exposed to the void and especially difficult after a humid and rainy winter. It is recommended to make this track circular in the direction that allows access to this section in an ascending direction. The steep slopes and the complexity of certain steps make this trail a challenge not recommended for beginners.

The forbidden trails

A good hiker can never be reckless. But there are bad hikers who, despite the warnings and prohibitions, set out on the most dangerous routes on the island, risking their lives. Two examples are the routes of the Mil Ventanas de Güímar or the Canales de Teno. With roads without any security and in gorges with hundreds of meters of fall into the void, these types of trails have come to claim the lives of unsuspecting people attracted by risk and adventure. “Only very experienced people should go,” defends Humberto Domínguez, president of the Tenerife Mountaineering Federation. "When the last snowfalls occurred in Las Cañadas there were people climbing up wearing shorts or walking shoes," he exclaims, concerned. The problem is that, with the rise of social networks, trails as exotic and spectacular as these go viral and some inexperienced hikers go without being aware of the risk to which they are exposing themselves. Sometimes they have sections that run through private properties. "When people get in, they run the risk of committing crimes and being summonsed for going without the pertinent permits," emphasizes Domínguez. 

NB: We would point out that we absolutely have not tried any of these.

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