Mount Teide, Tenerife. The summit of which stands at 3,718 m (12,198 ft), which makes it the highest point in Spain. Today was my day for getting the old boots on and wandering up there.
As you ascend to the highest peak in Spain, a sense of wonder fills the air, immersing you in an awe-inspiring landscape like no other.
With its diverse ecosystem and geological wonders, Mount Teide offers a unique and captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. From volcanic lunar landscapes to vibrant flora and fauna, every step of the way unveils new surprises and rewards.
Feel the adrenaline rush as you explore the surrounding trails and witness the majestic sunrise from above the clouds. As night falls, a mesmerizing stargazing experience awaits, offering a chance to marvel at the sparkling constellations against the backdrop of a clear Tenerife sky.
The significance of Mount Teide in Tenerife
Mount Teide holds great significance in Tenerife, both culturally and geologically. Standing at 3,718 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak not only in Spain but also in the entire Atlantic archipelago. The mountain is a stratovolcano, formed through numerous eruptions over millions of years. Its geological importance has led to it being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
But Mount Teide isn’t just a geological wonder; it is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Tenerife. The indigenous Guanches, the original inhabitants of the island, considered the volcano to be a sacred site. They believed it to be the gateway to the afterlife and held rituals and ceremonies on its slopes. Today, Mount Teide continues to be a symbol of Tenerife’s rich heritage and natural beauty.
Planning your trip to Mount Teide
Before embarking on your climb of Mount Teide, it’s essential to plan your trip meticulously. The mountain attracts a large number of visitors, so it’s crucial to secure your permits and accommodations well in advance. The Teide National Park authorities allow a limited number of visitors per day on the summit to preserve the delicate ecosystem and ensure a pleasant experience for all.
To access the summit, you can either hike or take the cable car. Hiking to the top is a challenging but rewarding experience, while the cable car offers a more convenient option for those with limited time or physical abilities. Whichever option you choose, be sure to check the weather conditions and dress appropriately for the changing temperatures and high altitudes.
Of course I chose to hike.
Booking a pass to the top of El Teide
As I said before, the National Park only allows a few people on the very summit per hour. Even the cable car only goes 40 minutes below the steep summit section and anybody going past this point still needs a pass to get to the very top. Places are limited so you need to book well in advance.
Passes can be purchased on via Reservas Parques Nacionales.
As you near the summit whether hiking from below or via the cable car you will need to show your pass and passport to be allowed that final trek to the top.
Hiking routes and trails on Mount Teide
Mount Teide boasts a variety of hiking routes and trails that cater to different skill levels and interests. The most popular trail is the Telesforo Bravo, which takes you the short but steep section to the summit from the top of the cable car. This little yet challenging hike rewards you of course with panoramic views of the island and its neighbouring islands.
I was going up the route from Montana Blanca. It takes you through a surreal landscape of volcanic rock formations, offering a glimpse into the geological wonders of the area.
Route from Montana Blanca to the summit of El Teide:
The climb of El Teide from Montana Blanca is a distance of 8.3 km with an altitude gain of 1188 m. The time it will take depends on your fitness but normally between 5 and 6 hours. This is important to know when booking your summit passes.
Parking at Montana Blanca isn’t so big a car park so you are best parking where you can and safely. This is at F-21 Teide road, at kilometre 40.7. From the road follow trail number 7. Begin the hike by following the well-marked trail that leads towards the base of Mount Teide.
As you ascend, you will pass through various volcanic landscapes, including lava fields and rocky terrain. The trail offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the island of Tenerife.
After a 4 km you will see a sign that turns left and ‘up’ towards El Teide. This is where the fun starts. A section where you climb 550 m in just 2,5 km. take it easy. It is steep. Half way up you come across huge volcanic boulders and small ones too which make it fun underfoot.
Continue on the trail until you reach the Altavista Refuge, a mountain hut located at an elevation of 3,260 meters. Take a break at the refuge to rest, take a breath and acclimatize to the high altitude.
From the refuge, follow the marked trail that leads to the summit of El Teide. The trail becomes steeper and more challenging as you approach the summit. As you near the summit, you will encounter loose volcanic gravel, so be cautious with your footing.
Eventually your efforts are met with the sight of the top of the cable car where you meet the Telesforo Bravo trail to the summit. Permits and passports in hand you make that final 40 minutes or so push to the top of Spain. Finally, reach the summit of El Teide, standing at an impressive altitude of 3,718 meters.
Take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the neighboring islands and the vast Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy your accomplishment and take memorable photos before starting your descent.
You can either come down all the way you came or take the cable car down and walk the 3 km along the road back to your car.
Wildlife and flora on Mount Teide
Despite the harsh conditions, Mount Teide is home to a surprising array of wildlife and flora. As you explore the trails, you may encounter unique species such as the blue chaffinch, the Teide lizard, and the Canary Island pine. These endemic species have adapted to the high altitudes and volcanic soil, making them a significant part of the mountain’s ecosystem.
The flora on Mount Teide is equally fascinating. The volcanic soil supports a diverse range of plant life, including succulents, wildflowers, and the iconic Teide violet. During the spring months, the mountain bursts into a riot of colors as the flowers bloom, creating a stunning contrast against the barren landscape.
Unique experiences on Mount Teide
Beyond hiking, Mount Teide offers a plethora of unique experiences that will leave you in awe. One of the most popular activities is stargazing. The mountain’s high altitude and clear skies make it an ideal location for observing the night sky. Join a guided stargazing tour and marvel at the countless stars, planets, and constellations that illuminate the heavens above.
Another unforgettable experience is witnessing the sunrise from Mount Teide. As the first rays of light pierce through the horizon, the surrounding landscape transforms into a golden spectacle, casting a warm glow on the volcanic terrain. Be sure to arrive early and find a good vantage point to capture this magical moment.
Sunrise and sunset views from Mount Teide
The sunrise and sunset views from Mount Teide are nothing short of extraordinary. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer to soak in the beauty of a colorful sunset, Mount Teide offers picture-perfect moments that will take your breath away.
As the sun rises above the horizon, the landscape is bathed in a soft, golden light, casting long shadows and revealing the intricate details of the volcanic formations. The vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple paint the sky during sunset, creating a surreal atmosphere that is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Safety precautions and tips for hiking Mount Teide
Hiking Mount Teide requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential safety precautions and tips to keep in mind:
1. Acclimatize yourself to the high altitude by spending a day or two in Tenerife before attempting the ascent.
2. Dress in layers to adapt to the changing temperatures and protect yourself from the strong sun.
3. Stay hydrated by carrying plenty of water and snacks.
4. Follow the marked trails and avoid venturing off the designated routes.
5. Check the weather conditions and be prepared for sudden changes.
6. Use sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
7. Respect the natural environment and leave no trace of your visit.
Accommodation options near Mount Teide
To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Mount Teide, consider staying in one of the accommodations near the national park. There are several options available, ranging from luxury hotels to cozy mountain lodges. Wake up to breathtaking views of the volcano and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings before embarking on your adventure.
Conclusion: A memorable journey to the summit of Mount Teide
Embarking on a journey to the summit of Mount Teide is an experience like no other. From the moment you set foot on the trails to the awe-inspiring views from the summit, every step of the way offers a chance to connect with nature and create lasting memories. So, lace up your boots, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to the summit of Mount Teide in Tenerife.
As the saying goes, it’s not just about reaching the top; it’s about the journey itself. And the journey to the summit of Mount Teide promises to be an unforgettable one filled with breathtaking vistas, unique wildlife encounters, and a deep sense of wonder. So, start planning your trip to Tenerife and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
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