We parked above the village of Vilaflor, choosing to walk the gravel road winding in and out of the barrancos (canyons), rather than subject our rental car to the rocks and ruts. After an hour we turned onto the proper hiking trail and began climbing up through the pine trees. From there, our route resembled a figure of eight, planning to get all the way up to the rim of the crater and look out over the big crater and the peak of Teide still high above us. A slow, steady climb continued until we missed the turn-off in the middle of the 8...perhaps it wasn't signposted because that half of the route was a little dangerous? Not sure. We decided to just to the top of the circle in reverse, which wouldn't matter at all.
The path steepened as we climbed onto the Montana de las Arenas (literally "the mountain of sand"). We were already at 7000 feet and our breathing became a little more difficult. The pines trees thinned out and what was left was black volcanic sand...the path cut a line straight across the hill of blackness. The ground changed as we climbed, though, and soon it was white, sharp rocks which littered the switchback trail up the hillside. We kept straining to see the top but somehow it was never in view. It was hot and sunny and windless at 8000 feet, and still the top wasn't anywhere to be seen. Luckily the other Canary Islands were, and while resting we could soak in the crystal clear views of Grand Canary to the south.
Still climbing, we dug deep (and ate more mandarins) to finish the find steps up to 9000 feet of elevation, and finally rounded the last hillside to take in the monstrous view of Teide, the crater, and more islands off in the distance. It was absolutely worth the climb to get such a sight, on such a warm, sunny day (on other days this peak can be awfully windy and cool). Of course, it's possible to get up to the Montana de Guajara viewpoint from the Visitor's Center in the crater as well, which is much less of a climb, but...we wanted a challenge!
We took a little time to sit, snack and enjoy our time on the peak. Then it was high time to boogy back down, as it was past 3 pm and darkness comes early in January. We returned the same way on the top section, choosing to avoid the dangerous descent along the waterway, and then turned off to see the Paisaje Lunar on the bottom loop. These were white rock hoodoos, looking much like the famed red rocks of the Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. Only there were several thousand less of them. Still, it was an interesting diversion before we pushed on, to arrive at our car just past sunset. It was an absolutely stunning route.
Distance: Roughly 16 miles, 8 hours, and 4500 feet of elevation gain (and loss)
This walk was a combination of walks #64 and #65 from the Tenerife Rother Walking Guide (2000)
|Montana de Arenas|