Hiking on Tenerife: Cruz del Carmen in Anaga Mountains
Anaga Mountains found on the northeastern side of Tenerife offer an entirely different environment than the rest of the island. Green, humid forest, the variety of plants and trees makes them an excellent area for hiking and exploration. One of my last days on Tenerife I went for a long hike starting from a small village Cruz del Carmen.
Into the laurel forest
The trail starts with quick descent, and after less than a hundred meters you become immersed in the green, humid subtropical forest of Anaga mountains. Most of the tree trunks and roots and covered with moss, which is also growing on the rocks beside the path.
I was walking down along the path for about half an hour, to finally emerge on the side of small, yet steep ravine - Barranco del Rio and approached parts of the tiny village: Casas del Rio.
From there, for about next hour the path twisted of the side steep walls of the canyons, passing by tiny vineyards and fields occasionally crammed on sparse parts of the flat ground.
After some time I’ve reached another small village Bejia which looked quite empty and after began climbing up to climb through some ridge and follow the trail towards Punta del Hidalgo.
Enjoying the mountain paths
Now started, what I believe, the most beautiful part of this trail. The narrow pathway was traversing the high slopes, crossed few sharp but dried stream beds and exposing beautiful panoramic view of the valleys and mountain ridges.
The environment was different there. The hills were dry, covered with sparse shrubs and barren grass. From time to time an Agawa or other types of cactus would appear for a variation.
Finally, I’ve climbed the last hill from which I could finally see the village of Punta del Hidalgo and the ocean behind it. My initial plan was to follow the yellow trail there and then go back to my starting point following the alternative path.
That was a bit stretch goal, and it was starting getting already a bit late and I was not sure how long the journey to the shore will be. Could be one or two hours and I didn’t want to risk getting caught by dark. From the map, it looked like the point on the ridge where I was standing was the last good place for turning back and I’ve decided to do so. I took some small, unmarked trail which (as I checked on the local OS map) should bring me back to my car.
But the way back was also quite interesting. I’ve stumbled upon fascinating, twisted rock formation.
The hike was steep, but I’ve pushed a bit harder and imposed faster pace. After about one hour of climbing the sides the ravines, where I could see my old route down below, I’ve reached back to the top and rejoined another trail that was leading towards Cruz del Carmen.
I have to admit, the trail markings are not so great. Many times I’ve found myself following the path for hundreds of meter being unsure if I’m on the right track. But thanks to OpenStreetMaps you can get a very detailed map of the areas, even with the smallest paths marked there.
Beware, this can also be quite misleading. I was often in the situation where I followed something that turned out later into really challenging routes that required me to climb or even to turn around and seek a different way.
On the final kilometers of the route, I was again dipped in the the laurisilva of Anaga. Moody fog started to appear it as clouds gathered and were covering the highest part of the mountains.
Finally, I’ve reached back the main road nearby, and after a few hundred meters I’ve arrived at my car, parked in front of the restaurant with the same name as the village. It was completely empty now, quite the same as the whole trail, where I’ve just passed one elderly couple and a lone woman running with two dogs.
The complete hike took me almost 5 hours, covering about 17 kilometers. You can see the full record of the trail on my Strava activity page.
Great Macizo de Anaga experience
Anaga mountains are definitely a great place to visit, especially if you’re looking for a change from dry, scarce areas of the southern part of Tenerife. The views are great and with many trails through ravines and dense forest they can offer excellent hiking experience.
Bonus points: when going there also the driving experience is excellent. The road snakes through the mountains sides immersed in a dense forest. It’s fantastic experience when you enter the area. There are also few designated parking areas along the U-turns where you can stop and admire magnificent views.
I highly recommend the area of Anaga mountains to anyone visiting Tenerife. You won’t be disappointed.