La Palma (Canary Islands): the most beautiful treks

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Pau Monfort
@paumonfort
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Together with Tenerife, I would say that La Palma is the Canary Island most devoted to trekking and active holidays. I myself have different routes of rare beauty and I could not help but dedicate a specific article to the most beautiful treks of La Palma. For everything else concerning La Palma, you can instead refer to the general article What to see in La Palma: the 'isla bonita' of the Canaries

La Palma is a very organized island for senderismo (this is how trekking is called in Spanish), the paths are many, well marked, and the island is very structured in this sense. Here every year the Transvulcania, an ultra-marathon of 74,6 km with a cumulative altitude difference of 8086 m (for semi-gods practically!). So .. if you like walking you are definitely in the right place !!



The weather in La Palma

Being the northernmost island of the Canary archipelago, La Palma is more exposed to the clouds and precipitation of the Atlantic and in the north, especially in winter, it can rain quite often. Also calculate that on the Roques del Taburiente (the highest point on the island, at 2400 meters) it can snow, so bring something warmer to go there. Ditto for any other trekking: time can change very quickly so always bring a windproof jacket and a warm sweatshirt. 

Another piece of advice I give you is to always check, before setting off, the weather of the day from this site because, if it rains, most of the paths can become dangerous or impracticable (e.g. in some barranchi the rivers they might even increase their reach).

The most beautiful treks to do in La Palma

1 Route of the Vulcanoes 

I could not start the article on the most beautiful treks in La Palma if not with the Route of the Vulcanes (sentiero LP-301), one of the most beautiful treks that can be done in the Canary Islands ever! It is the most famous trek in La Palma and reaches Los Canarios from the Pilar Refuge (approximately 18 km). This trail crosses the Parque natural de Cumbre Vieja and the chain of volcanoes (dozens!) Within it, which are the youngest on the island. The landscape changes several times, starting from the woods of 'Canary pine' (a native species found only in this archipelago), then reaches the arid and apocalyptic scenarios of the calderas of the various volcanoes. It is a fairly heavy trek especially for the length and for the fact that we are talking about 5/6 km of ascent and 10-12 km of descent (which are not the best for the knees). The path is very well marked and linear, so it is advisable to be taken to the starting point (Rifugio del Pilar) by taxi from Santa Cruz de la Palma (costs around 30 euros) and then take the bus N.200 from Los Canarios to return to Santa Cruz (it takes about 50 '- here you will find the timetables). The Ruta de los Vulcanes is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful treks to do in La Palma, it is super scenic and does not disappoint. If you have to choose only one trekking to do on the island (and you are a little trained) .. choose this, without a shadow of a doubt!



Difficulty level: moderate (4 out of 5) - Duration: 5h 

2. Trekking from Los Canarios to Faro di Fuencaliente

If you still have energy in your legs, after completing the Ruta de los Vulcanes you can continue for another 6 km (all downhill) to reach the southernmost point of the island, where the Fuencaliente lighthouse and salt flats are located. But this trail can also be a good option if you are looking for a shorter trek than the Ruta de los Vulcanes, with equally beautiful landscapes. The trail starts in Los Canarios, from Volcan San Antonio Visitor Center, and passes close to the Teneguia volcano, the last volcano that erupted on the island (and did so for a whole month in 1971). The landscape is arid and lunar, consisting of black and red lava which then solidified when it reached the sea. There is also a loop version of this trail (approximately 9 km) which starts from the Fuencaliente lighthouse. To return to Los Canarios from the lighthouse you can then take the bus (it leaves from the lighthouse every hour between 9:45 am and 17:45 pm). 

Difficulty level: easy (2 out of 5) - Duration: 1,5h

3. Trekking inside the Caldera del Taburiente 

Another trek among the most beautiful in La Palma is the one inside the Caldera del Taburiente. The trail starts from Los Brecitos viewpoint and ends in Barranco de las Angustias after about 16-17 km. The first part of the path is all downhill, in half shade because it is surrounded by pines, until you reach the Centro de Visitante, around which you can also camp. From here on it is an ups and downs along the Barranco de las Angustias and it is worth making a small detour to the Cascade of Colors, a beautiful waterfall with yellow / orange rock due to the presence of iron. Walking along the barranco you can also see the Roque Idafe, considered sacred by the aborigines who inhabited the island in ancient times. The barranco is crossed by water and can be dangerous in case of rain so it is preferable to organize it with a guide. I have it booked with Civitatis, from this site, and I found myself very well! One more reason why it is convenient to go with them is that you cannot park at the Mirador Los Brecitos so the organization is not easy. Doing it with them instead you leave the car in Los Llanos and from there you proceed with a van that will also pick you up at the end of the path (in addition to the fact that the guide is very good and explains everything!). If you want you can also do a trek just to go to see the Cascada de Colores, but in my opinion it is not worth it. Trekking is beautiful in its full version, where you cross and see different landscapes. 



Difficulty level: moderate (4 out of 5) - Duration: 6 / 7h

4. Trekking to Pico Bejenado from Cumbrecita

Staying in the Caldera del Taburiente, another beautiful trek to do is the one to Bejenado Peak. This trek leaves and returns to the Mirador de la Cumbrecita, one of the most beautiful view points of the Caldera. The path includes a climb on the outward journey (about 600 meters in altitude), and then descends on the return; to cover it it takes about 2,5-3h depending on your training and the breaks you will take. To park at the Mirador de la Cumbrecita you need to book a parking space from the park's website at least in advance, otherwise try to book it directly at the visitor center, if you decide last-minute. However, keep in mind that the paths that branch off from this mirador are the most popular in the park so you risk not finding a place. 

Difficulty level: medium (3 su 5) - Duration: 2,5 / 3h

5. Trekking from Los Muchachos to Snow Peak

Among the most beautiful and scenic treks to do in La Palma there is certainly what It goes from Roques de los Muchachos (from the high point of the island, 2426 mt) to Pico de la Nieve. The Taburiente caldera is surrounded by several peaks that reach almost 2500 meters in height and this path that runs along them offers a magnificent view of the caldera itself and the rest of the island. The path can be walked in both directions and is about 9 km long, which can be covered in 4-5 hours. The amazing thing about this place (and I tell you that the photos fail to render its beauty in the least !!) is that it really feels like flying above the clouds! 



Difficulty level: moderate (4 out of 5) - Duration: 5h

6.Trekking a Los Tiles 

We now move into a completely different ecosystem for other beautiful treks to do in La Palma. The area de The Tiles almost includes 1400 sq km of rainforest declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the landscape here is completely different from the rest of the island. To explore this dense and evergreen forest you can take several trails of different length and difficulty. The "main" ones are 4: 

  1. trekking to the waterfall: 10' A/R departing from the Visitor Center
  2. trekking to the Topo de Las Barandas viewpoint (path PR -7): about 1,3 km starting from the Centro de Visitante, 1h A / R, a bit challenging because it is quite steep. Upon arrival you have a spectacular view of the valley on one side and the ocean on the other.
  3. Trekking to the Espigon Atraversado Viewpoint: 2,3 km, about 1h A / R (we always start from the Centro de Visitante), with a beautiful view over the valley
  4. Trekking to the Marcos y Cordero springs: almost 11 km of path (one way) quite challenging. The path starts from the Casa del Monte and ends at the Centro de Visitante. It's best to park at the Los Tiles Visitor Center and take a taxi to Casa del Monte (about 15 euros), unless you want to walk another 11 km to go back. 

Difficulty level: easy to moderate - Duration: varies, from 10 'to 5h

7. Trekking from La Zarza Cultural Park to El Tablado 

I conclude this article on the most beautiful treks in La Palma with a fairly demanding trek in the north-west of the island, in the Garafia area. This part of the island is the least touristy and least accessible of all but, precisely for this reason, it is also one of the most fascinating. It's a circular path that starts and returns to the Parque Cultural La Zarza and passes through the village of El Tablado. This trek is quite challenging both because the difference in height exceeds 1000 meters (it goes down to sea level), and because there are about 17 kilometers to go, but it is very beautiful and scenic. If you reach The Tablado around lunchtime, stop to eat at La Garza Cafe

Difficulty level: moderate (4 out of 5) - Duration: 6 / 7h

You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about the Canary Islands:

  • El Hierro (Canary Islands): what to see and what to do
  • What to see in La Palma: the 'isla bonita' of the Canaries
  • What to see in Lanzarote: all the places not to be missed
  • Fuerteventura: what to see and where to go
  • How to organize a trip to Lanzarote
  • The most beautiful treks in Lanzarote (Canary Islands)
  • Lanzarote: the most beautiful beaches and natural pools
  • Smartworking from the Canary Islands: info and useful tips for digital nomads
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