Walking in La Palma

£10.00

Landscapes of LA PALMA and EL HIERRO

Walks and car tours by Noel Rochford

An excellent book… The size, the balance between text and images and facts and maps … makes it perfect for getting out and about. (GCH, Amazon)

Walking in La Palma was spectacular, marvellous… many other superlatives. (VH, Hyde)

The book proved a really useful (no, essential) addition to our holiday and made a good holiday really special. (HOH, Shrewsbury)

Area covered: walks and tours throughout both islands.

The best months for walking on La Palma and El Hierro are October to June.

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £12.99)

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Description

La PalmaIn natural beauty, La Palma rivals all the other Canary Islands put together. Its immense, abyss-like crater, the Caldera de Taburiente, is considered to be the largest of its kind in the world. Deep within its pine-speckled, towering walls is a year-round abundance of gushing streams, boisterous cascades, and a plummeting waterfall.

Outside the crater, high on the cloud-catching hillsides, 20 million-year-old laurel forests grow as dense as a jungle. In the southern half of the island, hills pitted with volcanic craters and mini-deserts of black lapilli speak of the island’s volcanic past. This stark, striking landscape, all the more dramatic for its stabs of volcanic reds, oranges, and yellows, is far removed from the lush and verdant, tree-clad north.

El Hierro, the least-visited of all the Canaries, at first appears to be a dried-up, sprawling mountain of rock, rising straight from the sea, treeless and barren. But Noel reveals the island’s hidden charms — as remarkable as any in the archipelago. Whether you tour La Palma or El Hierro by car or discover them on foot, Noel introduces you to the islands’ best beauty spots.

Where to stay

For atmosphere and easy access to walks by public transport, the author recommends Santa Cruz or Los Llanos on La Palma. However, if you will be hiring a car, you can take your choice of the island’s resorts. On El Hierro, which only has one bus each day, you’ll need a hire car and here the author recommends staying in Tigaday.

Edition/contents etc

For La Palma 3 car tours, 38 long and short walks, 22 picnic suggestions; for El Hierro 1 car tour, 12 long and short walks, 8 picnic suggestions
136 pages + 2 touring maps (La Palma and El Hierro); plan of Santa Cruz de La Palma
7th ed, Jan 2015; ISBN 978-1-85691-462-8; UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $17.99

Table of contents:

Preface 5
Acknowledgements; Useful books 6
Picnic suggestions on La Palma 7
Picnic suggestions on El Hierro 9

TOURING
LA PALMA’S VERDANT NORTH AND THE ISLAND’ SUMMITS (TOUR 1) 12
Santa Cruz · Los Sauces · Barlovento · Garafía · Roque de los Muchachos · Santa Cruz

VOLCANIC SPLENDOURS IN THE SOUTH OF LA PALMA (TOUR 2) 20
Santa Cruz · Los Canarios (Fuencaliente) · El Paso · El Pilar · Santuario de las Nieves · Santa Cruz

CALDERA DE TABURIENTE (TOUR 3) 26
Los Llanos · Caldera de Taburiente · Barranco de las Angustias · Los Brecitos · Tazacorte · Mirador El Time · (Puntagorda) · Los Llanos

EL HIERRO – THE ISLAND’S HIGHLIGHTS (TOUR 4) 28
Tigaday · Sabinosa · La Dehesa · (Faro de Orchilla) · Cruz de los Reyes · Hoya del Morcillo · El Pinar · Cala de Tacorón · Mirador de las Playas · Mirador de Jinama · Mirador de la Peña · Mocanal · Pozo de las Calcosas · Valverde · San Andrés · Tigaday

WALKING
Guides, waymarking, maps 36
Where to stay 36
Transport 37
What to take 37
Weather 38
Dogs – and other nuisances 38
Country code for walkers and motorists 38
Spanish for walkers 39
Organisation of the walks 40

WALKS ON LA PALMA
1 From the Mirador La Tosca to Gallegos 42
2 Los Sauces · Mirador de las Barandas · Barlovento 45
3 Los Tilos turn-off · Barranco del Agua · Los Tilos · Los Sauces 49
4 Los Tilos turn-off · Los Tilos · Nacientes de Cordero · Nacientes de Marcos · Las Lomadas 52
5 Barranco de la Galga 58
6 LP1032 (Pico de la Nieve turn-off) · Pico de la Nieve · Punta de los Roques · Ermita de la Virgen del Pino · National Park Visitor Centre 61
7 Lomo de los Mestres · La Pared Vieja · Refugio El Pilar · National Park Visitor Centre 66
8 Los Canarios (Fuencaliente) · Volcán de San Antonio · Volcán de Teneguía · Faro de Fuencaliente 73
9 Ruta de los Volcanes 78
10 Pico Bejenado 84
11 Caldera de Taburiente 86
12 From the Mirador El Time to Puerto de Tazacorte 93
13 Tijarafe · Poris de Candelaria · Tijarafe 96
14 From Tijarafe to Tinizara 99
15 El Fayal · Las Tricias · Cuevas de Buracas · Las Tricias 103
16 Garafía · El Palmar · Juan Adalid · El Palmar · Garafía 107

WALKS ON EL HIERRO
17 Pista al Derrabado · Sabinosa · Ermita de la Virgen de los Reyes · Sabinosa 111
18 Frontera · Mirador de Jinama · Ermita Virgen de la Peña · Las Puntas 115
19 HI1 · Mirador del Golfo · Hoyo de Fileba · Fuente del Lomo · Bailadero de las Brujas · HI1 121
20 HI1 · Mirador de las Playas · La Torre · San Andrés · Arbol Santo · Tiñor 124

Bus timetables, flights and ferries 131
Index 135
Fold-out touring maps inside back cover
(with plans of Santa Cruz de La Palma and Valverde)

Guidebook index

LA PALMA

Barlovento 12, 15, 42, 44, 45, 48, TT Línea 2
Laguna de — 8, 12, 16, 44, 47, 48
Barranco (ravine, river)
de las Angustias 8, 9, 26-7, 86, 88-9, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95
del Agua 14, 45, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52-3
de Ribanseras del Castro 87, 90, 92
Caldera de Taburiente 8, 26, 86, 87, 90, 92
Casa del Monte 52-3, 56, 57
Cascada Colorada 86, 88-9, 90, 92
Cuesta de Reventón 88-9, 91
Cuevas de Buracas 103, 105, 106
Cráter del Duraznero 79, 80
Cruce del Refugio 61, 63, 64, 68-9
Cumbre Nueva 63, 65, 66, 68-9, 71
Cumbre Vieja 65, 68-9, 70
Degollada (pass)
del Barranco de la Madera 62, 63
del Río 62, 63
Dos Aguas 9, 88-9, 92
El Barrial 63, 84
El Fayal 8, 26, 27, 103, 106
El Palmar 107, 108, 110
El Paso 20, 24, 86, 88-9, TT Línea 1
Ermita de la Virgen del Pino 8, 61, 63, 65, 68-9
Fuencaliente see Los Canarios
Faro de — 22, 73, 76, 77, 80
Franceses 17
Gallegos 16, 42, 44
Garafía 12, 18, 107, 110, TT Líneas 5, 11
Hoyo
de Mazo, El 20
Hoyo Negro 68-9, 78, 80
Juan Adalid 107, 110
Jedey 23
La Cumbrecita 24, 84
La Galga 13, 52-3, 58, 59, 60, TT Línea 2
Barranco de — 14, 58-9, 60, 60
Cubo de — 59, 60
La Palmita 43, 44
La Pared Vieja 8, 20, 25, 66, 68-9, 70
La Rosa 68-9
La Tosca 7, 42, 43, 44, 48
Las Indias 22, 79
Las Lomadas 14, 48, 52-3, 57
Las Manchas 23
Las Toscas 20
Las Tricias 2, 19, 103, 104, 106, TT Línea 2
Llano del Jable 8, 24, 67, 68-9, 71, 78
Lomo de los Mestres 66-7, 68-9, 70
Los Brecitos 26-7, 86, 88-9
Los Canarios 20-1, 73, 74-5, 76, 80, 83, TT Línea 3
Los Llanos 26-7, 88-9, 92-3, 94, TT Líneas 1-5
Los Sauces 12, 14, 45, 48, 49, 51, 52-3, TT Líneas 11, 12
Los Tilos 7, 12, 14, 48, 49, 50, 52-3, 54, cover
Mazo 20, 66, 68-9, TT Línea 3
Mirador (viewpoint)
de la Concepción 24, 25
de las Barandas 34, 35, 36, 46, 51
de las Indias 23
de San Bartolomé 13
del Lomo de Tagasaste 88-9
El Rodeo 6, 84, 85, 88-9
El Time 26-7, 93
Espigón Atravesado 48, 52-3, 54
La Tosca 7, 16, 42, 43, 44, 48
Los Andenes 19
Punta de los Roques 24
Taburiente 19
Morro de la Era 88-9, 91, 92
Nacientes de Cordero y Marcos 52-3, 55
Observatorio Astrofísico 12, 18-19
Parque Cultural La Zarza 12. 17
Pico (mountain peak)
Bejenado 6, 84, 84, 88-9
Corralejo 63, 64
de la Nieve 61-2, 63
Ovejas 63, 64
Piscinas de la Fajana 15
Playa (beach)
Chica 22
de Zamora 22
de los Cancajos 20
de Taburiente 86, 88-9
Poris de Candelaria 96, 97, 98
Puerto de Tazacorte 27, 93, 94, 95, TT Línea 21
Puerto Espíndola 15
Punta Complida, Faro de 14
Punta de los Roques 61, 63, 64
Punta Talavera 15
Puntagorda 26-7, 103, 106, TT Línea 2
Puntallana 12-3
Refugio El Pilar 8, 20, 24, 61, 66, 68-9, 71, 78, 79, 81, 82-3
Reventón Pass 61, 63, 65, 68-9
Río (river)
Almedro Amargo 86
  Taburiente 88-9, 90
Roque (rock)
de los Muchachos 12, 16-7, 18, 19
del Faro 17
Idafe 88-9, 90
Teneguía 21, 73-4, 75, 76
Ruta de los Volcanes 68-9, 78, 79, 80
San Andrés 14, 52-3, TT Línea 12
San Antonio 20
San Isidro 25, 68-9
San Nicolás 23
San Pedro (Breña Alta) 25, 68-9
Santa Cruz 4,12, 20, 24, TT Líneas 1, 3, 8, 11
 town plan with touring map
Santuario de Las Nieves 20, 25
Somada del Palo 88-9, 90
Tajuya 24
Tazacorte 26-7, 93, TT Línea 2
Tigalate 21
Tijarafe 27, 96, 98, 99, TT Línea 2
Tinizara 27, 98, 99, 100, 102
Volcán
  de San Antonio 21, 73, 75, 76, 77
de Teneguía 21, 22-3, 73-4, 76
Deseada 78, 80, 81
  Martín 80, 81, 82-3

EL HIERRO

Arbol Santo (El Garoë) 124, 128-9
Arenas Blancas 120, 121
Bailadero de las Brujas 122, 128
Cala de Tacorón 28, 32, 33
Cruz de los Reyes 28, 32
Echedo 35
El Golfo 28-9, 112, 122-3
El Pinar 28, 33-4, 125, 128-9, TT EH5
El Sabinar 30, 112-3
Erese 34
Ermita (chapel)
de la Caridad 116-7, 118
de la Virgen de los Reyes 30, 111, 112-3, 114
  Virgen de la Peña 10, 115, 116-7, 128-9
Faro de Orchilla 28, 30
Frontera 28-9, 115, 116-7, 128-9, TT EH1-2
Fuente del Lomo 122, 123
Guarazoca 34, 116-7, TT EH3
Hoya de Fileba 122, 128-9
Hoya del Morcillo 10, 28, 33, 128-9
Isora 128-9, TT EH4
La Calheta TT EH6
La Dehesa 28
La Restinga 33, TT EH5
La Torre 124, 128-9
Laja de Orchilla 28, 30
Las Casas (El Pinar) 33, 128-9
Las Playas, Las 10, 126
Las Puntas 116-7, TT EH2
Mirador (viewpoint)
de Isora 35, 124, 126, 128-9
de Jinama 9, 28, 34, 115, 116-7, 118
  de la Llanía 33, 122
de la Peña 10, 28, 34, 115, 116-7, 119, TT EH3
de las Pernandas 35
de las Playas 10, 28, 34, 122, 124, 128-9
Tanajara 33
Mocanal 28, 34
Montaña Bermeja 127, 128-9
Pista al Derrabado 111, 112-3, 114
Playa del Verodal 28, 30, 120, 121
Pozo de la Salud 31, 112-3
Pozo de las Calcosas 28, 35
Puerto de la Estaca 3
Roques de Salmor 119
Sabinosa 28, 111, 112-3, 114, TT EH1
San Andrés 28, 35, 115, 116-7, 124, 127, 128-9
Taibique (El Pinar) 33, TT EH5
Tamaduste 35
Tigaday 28-9, 31, 116-7, TT EH1-2
Timijiraque 10
Tiñor 124, 128-9, 130, TT EH4
Valverde 28, 35, TT EH1-7, 136
  town plan with touring map

 

Current update

LA PALMA AND EL HIERRO: WALKS AND CAR TOURS, 7th edition (2015), updated 11/08/2016

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

LA PALMA

GPS: The GPS information available from the senderosdelapalma website mentioned on page 36 is straightforwardly accessed by PC users. But the Google Earth files need converting for Mac users, as follows.
1) Have Google Earth open
2) Select the walk you want from the Senderos website and CLICK ONCE on the Google Earth icon
3) You will see a page of gibberish, BUT copy the entire address bar above, starting with “http”
4) Go to www.gpsvisualizer.com
5) On he home page, select “Google Earth KML” (on the right, just below the introduction)
6) This brings up another page. At the bottom right, where it reads “Or provide the URL of a file on the Web”, paste in the address you have just copied
7) Just below that, click on “create KML file”
8) A new window gives you the file, but this cannot be dragged over Google Earth. Instead, click once on the address and a .kmz file will download; this file CAN de dragged over Google Earth.

Note that NOT ALL WALKS ON THE SENDEROS WEBSITE ARE THE SAME AS IN OUR BOOK!!!

Buses: all have been renumbered and there are some changes in routes and frequencies. The timetables are on the official site:

http://www.transporteslapalma.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/HORARIOS.pdf

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to a route map on the website now but a route schematic (as at 11/15) is shown on the wall of most bus shelters. (User and Sunflower, 11/15)

The bus line numbers are now very different from those used in the guide – for instance Line 8 is now Line 500, Line 1 is now Line 300, Line 2 is now Line 100, Line 3 is now Line 200 etc.   Unfortunately we found on arrival that the bus timetable on the website is out of date. (User, 3/16)

Car Tour 1: Puntallana – suggest parking by the church, rather than down steep hill with little turning room. Los Tilos – we didn’t think that the visitor centre was basic, maybe it’s been upgraded, it has several informative displays and toilets. Observatorio Astrofisico – for another day, 90 minute public tours can now be booked to see one of the telescopes (often the Grand Canaria Telescope), this must be done in advance, 9 Euros pp (11/15) see http://orm.astrocamp.es/index_en.html (User, 1/16)

Car Tour 2: There is a self guided trail with interpretation boards at the salt plans at Faro de Fuencaliente. Car parking at La Cumbrecita must be pre-booked on the internet for any visits before 4pm.

https://www.reservasparquesnacionales.es/real/parquesnac/usu/html/detalle-actividadoapn.aspx?ii=6ENG&cen=4&act=4

There are only 16 car spaces and in Nov 15 they were all booked up a few days ahead. After 4pm you can just drive up there. Taxis wait at the Visitor Centre – 8 Euro to Cumbrecita . An alternative is to park at the Ermita de la Virgen del Pino (mentioned in walk 6) and follow a walk up (2.5 hours, 673m ascent, 275m descent, length 6.26km) or vice versa. (User, 1/16)

Car Tour 3: You cannot stop on the road from Barranco de las Angustias to Los Brecitos and there is very limited turnaround space at Los Brecitos. (User, 1/16)

Walk 6: In fact we walked from the Centro de Visitantes to the Mirador Llano del Jable (which was not in cloud) but returned down SL EP101 to El Paso to catch the bus back.  This is a very pleasant and well-marked path down passing Mna de Enrique.  At the bottom turn right and then take the next right to reach a bus stop on the main road. (User, 3/16)

Walk 7: Important: Bad forest fires have affected the southern mountain range. The first part of Walk 7, Alternative walk is affected, and the short walks, around the refugio El Pilar. (Conny in La Palma, 8/16)

Walk 8: Start: Bus 200 or 201. At Faro de Fuencaliente the marine centre is now 2 Euro admission (11/15). We couldn’t see any bus timetable (route 203) or taxi numbers so be sure to check ahead. (User, 1/16) + The only problem with the route in the book is the short descent from Roque Teneguia to the canal. The gully mentioned in the book is probably the one well over to the left as you face downwards.  The rest of the route is very well marked and is much more interesting than the old main route.  Timing the descent to reach the two hourly bus service on time is difficult – we stopped at the final road crossing and caught the bus there as it had already left the Faro.  It cannot be caught at previous road crossings as it goes to the west side of the island. (User, 3/16)

Walk 9: Important: Bad forest fires have affected the southern mountain range, especially Walk 9: the main walk, the short walk and the circular walk. It will take some time for the forest to get back to “normal” again. (from Conny in La Palma, 8/16)

 The left path off the GR131 from Rufugio is now strictly no entry with ‘dangerous trail’ signage plus the original sign pointing up to Birigoyo has been sawn off from the post. (User, 7/15) • New route from Sunflower: Short circular walk: Birigoyo — or Ruta de los Volcanes ‘lite’ (6km/3.6mi; 2h15min). The best option if you don’t have time or stamina to do the whole Ruta de los Volcanes. This short, but very pretty walk will keep you just as happy, and the views are tremendous! Grade: moderate, but with an ascent and descent of 350m/1150ft on gravelly, loose rock and sand. Take a walking stick! Follow the main walk for 45 minutes, at which point the path left to Birigoyo will be closed. Once on the track (45min), follow it for a few minutes and just after a rugged lava flow, turn left on a faint path marked with cairns. In 7 minutes you reach the rim of a pretty crater full of pines. Turn left uphill and after another 7 minutes you reach the rim of the impressive crater of Birigoyo (1h05min). Now turn right on a path marked with cairns, which rounds the crater on the south side. You enjoy tremendous views to the south, east and west — if the weather is clear you can see both coasts. Climbing higher, then round the crater towards the north. From the summit of Birigoyo (1h30min) there’s an uninterrupted view over the Caldera de Taburiente — better than from any vantage point on the Ruta de los Volcanes. A steep zigzag descent follows over loose terrain, past a smaller crater on the right. On reaching the first shrubs (1h45min) the path veers to the right and zigzags down into the forest (1h55min). Five minutes later turn left down a large firebreak, ignoring a track on the left. Just 100m/yds further down another track crosses the fire break; follow this to the left. It narrows to a path. Follow this straight on and, a minute later, meet your outgoing path. Follow it to the right for less than 10 minutes, back to the Refugio del Pilar (2h15min). (Sunflower, 10/15) + It is worth including that the total descent is 1300m. End: Bus 200 or 201 (User, 1/16)

Walk 10: We went wrong near the beginning (by going ahead to the right of the park INFORMATION BOARD) but did not realise for a while and, after some uncertainty, met other walkers and completed an anti-clockwise circuit with a ridge section via Roque de los Cuervos to reach Pico Benjenado.  We returned on the route in the book.  This circuit was shown on the park INFORMATION BOARD at the El Barrial car park and is highly recommended for the ridge views but longer… To complete the walk as described in the book, the second paragraph, second sentence should read: Follow the track ahead to the turn-off left for the ascent, by a large park INFORMATION BOARD and second parking area (20min). (User, 1/16) + There is a very beautiful and well maintained track shown as a black dotted line on the map of this chapter but surprisingly not mentioned in the guide.  It is well maintained and signed and is second only to the trail down from Los Brecitos to the camp site in interest and attractiveness.  We have met many walkers using it on the two occasions we have walked it.  The trail runs from the east side of Cumbrecita down the east side of the valley running up from the Centro de Visitantes to meet PRLP1 part of the way up from the climb to the Cumbre.  This path is marked on maps as the Camino de Gordian although it should not be confused with a similarly named track starting on the west side of Cumbrecita going to the Mirador de la Cancelita  which is not maintained and is not suitable for walkers.  The walk takes about 2-3 hours and is easiest started from the Cumbrecita end.  Walk through the eastern car park following the trail to a Y-junction.  Go right here at a notice board, away from the Caldera.  The path follows a ledge rising and falling with great views reaching a gallery (and seat) after 15 minutes and then another after about an hour.   It then descends towards the valley floor passing some water galleries and rises again until attractive old orchards and smallholdings are passed to the right.  After more rising and descending the path makes a final long ascent to meet the ridge where PRLP1 is joined.  Overall there is a descent of about 1500 feet and rise of 500 feet walking in this direction.  The path is extremely well marked with green park boards. (User, 3/16)

Walk 11: Taxis to Los Brecitos now shown as operating from 8 – 13:00 in the summer, 8 – 12:00 in the winter (User, 1/16) + This has always been our favorite walk on La Palma and is well worth saving for a cloudless day for the sunlit views on the first part of the walk.   It is best started early as clouds often form around the rim of the Caldera after mid-morning.   We were lucky in being told before we attempted to set out on our arrival that the Baranco was closed for the first three days of our stay to clear out the town water supply – silted up by a previous storm. Since we were last here the trail up to Los Brecitos has been sealed with tarmac and now ordinary taxis can make the ascent.  We were charged 40 euros from Los Llanos to Los Brecitos.  The track from the camp site down to the ravine has been extensively improved and paved in parts and is now much safer – where it splits, only the right hand track has been maintained.   The descent to see the Cascada Colorado is best made where a green sign can be seen well over to the left shortly before the path makes its final descent into the ravine.  The old stepping stones at Dos Aguas seem to be missing now but it was still just about possible to cross just below the junction without getting wet feet.  Further down there are green boards marking the seven diversions up the sides but unfortunately they are easily missed as they are high up on the ravine sides and most people are carefully watching where they are putting their feet in this section.  The first three diversions are to the left but the first two can be easily bypassed down the canyon in normal conditions.  The third to the left, fourth to the right, fifth to the left and sixth to the right are all best used and you may easily find yourself backtracking up the canyon if you miss them.  The seventh (not noted in the book) is to the left just before the car park but it is usually not necessary to follow this. (User, 3/16)

Walk 14: This follows the well-marked GR130 in general.  However this trail continues on a level from the point where the book trail climbs between two houses to the road leading to the lone pine.  The GR130 trail is considerably more straightforward and it is not clear whether it is even possible to follow the book trail at this point now as there have been extensive developments in this area. (User, 3/16)

EL HIERRO

Walk 18: due to rockfall, walking the Jinama path is strictly forbidden (User, 4/16)

Walk 19: due to permanent rockfall from the cliff, the road between Pozo de la Salud and Arena Blancas is closed. Access to walk 19 is only possible from the other side. (User, 4/16)