Start Location: 28.3451, -16.481821
The pilgrim’s walk follows the route of the ancient Guanche pilgrims. Starting up in the foothills of Teide, from the look-out point of Las Crucitas (Mirador de La Crucita). After a beautiful drive through the Teide national park from the AWF building, you will find yourself at this look-out point above vast pine forest and arid rocky environments. This will be the beginning of your adventure.
Difficulty: Intermediate level walk.
Although there are no climbing or scrambling parts to this walk it is not considered easy. A lot of the path is loose and steep which may cause slips and trips resulting in minor or major injuries. There are parts of this walk with little to no shelter which means protection from the sun is advised. Temperatures on this walk can pose threat to inexperienced walkers due to some areas being sun-traps and parts of the environment exaggerating and insulating heat. Lots of water is required for this walk especially in the warm months (3 litres to be safe).
It is difficult to get across the beauty of this walk as every turn brings an ancient tree or an interesting rock formation. The only way to fully experience the true magnificence is first-hand. This was a brief overview of the walk and the real thing will strike awe in even experienced walkers. We walked this route unknowingly during a Calima event with an avid group of hikers. Nearing the end of the walk we noticed a distinct rise in temperatures especially the closer we got to the and potentially dangerous spikes in temperature.
Without correct provisions, this could have been dangerous. The narrow tarmac street was funnelling the hot air directly to us, causing the temperatures to reach the low/mid 40’s. This was exaggerated by the direct sun and the scorching seasonal calima Saharan winds which prevented any form of cooling down, boosting the temperature even further. This resulted in us calling mandatory breaks in any and all shade to cool down. On top of this, we urged the hikers to wet their hats and re-apply sun protection on uncovered skin to prevent overheating and sunstroke. Thankfully, between us… enough water was brought to prevent an emergency situation.
The walk winds down paths of volcanic rock and soil and soon drops you deep into forests of Canary pine (Pinus canariensis) surrounded by nothing except the sounds of nature and whoever you are accompanied by. The route of this walk is slightly harder to follow as there are several paths crossing over at some points. This can be avoided by following the correct signs or having a marked map.
Part of this walk brings you down next to a large bare ridge and later on out near a volcanic cone (Volcan de Arafo) on the edge of the forest which was once a previous eruption sight. There is an abundance in floral wildlife throughout this walk such as the trees mentioned above! Once past the volcanic cone, it becomes drier in climate. There is a lack of trees, but an abundance of shrub type plants littered across the arid landscape – some with surprising colour. Soon enough, the tree-line returns and once again you are surrounded by old towering trees on every side.
If the correct signs have been followed, the walk should bring you to a drinkable water source in the form of a pipe system. Continuing along the path should bring you to a road with traditional canarien farms and a straight route back to Arafo – the pick-up point. A tall church spire will soon be visible for visual orientation however should not be needed once on the correct road.