There are many roads leading up to the Mount Teide National Park, at the geographical centre of the island. From Santa Cruz or La Laguna,the best choice is the TF-24 road, which runs through La Esperanza in the municipal district of El Rosario. From the north of the island, TF-21 runs from La Orotava up to the park, which is the most popular of its kind in Spain. In the south, the access routes, from Granadilla and Vilaflor (TF-21) or from Chío (TF-38), in Guía de Isora, are even more numerous.
On all these roads, there are sufficient road signs and they are generally in good condition, except on the very rare days when snow prevents traffic at high altitude.
THE CANARIAN PINE
Even before reaching the National Park, you can enjoy one of the attractions of the trip up: the Corona Forestal, a mass of woodland, made up principally of Canarian pine which surrounds the National Park. For those who do not know it, this mountain offers a surprising view of Tenerife, far from the traditional postcard of sun and sand. Once you are through the altitude of the Corona Forestal, you enter the National Park. Although the best known volcano is Mount Teide, it is a fact that this unique natural space contains a number of volcanoes. The Chahorra Volcano or Pico Viejo was the last to erupt,over two hundred years ago. The Park has two visitors’ centres, one at El Portillo and the other at Cañada Blanca, next to the National Hotel or Parador.
Inside the Mount Teide National Park, the landscapes are highly original and spectacular. Thousands and thousands of years of continuous volcanic activity have moulded the immense caldera or bowl of las Cañadas del Teide, creating unique images, with unusual shapes and colours. A true delight for your eyes, which only with patience can make out all the infinite shades and hues of a wild, indomitable nature, that appears to come from other worlds entirely. The Llano de Ucanca, Los Azulejos, Los Roques de García,Montaña Blanca and Montaña Rajada are the highly descriptive names of some of the most outstanding spots. For lovers of botany, at this height, the very special climatic conditions have led to the development of unique plant species, such as the Mount Teide broom, the Red Tajinaste, the Blue Tajinaste, or the Mount Teide Violet.
CLIMBING MOUNT TEIDE
It is of course possible to complete your visit by climbing up to the very top of Mount Teide, the highest point in Spain. There is a cable car service every day, weather permitting. This travels up to the area of La Rambleta, at 3,555 metres above sea level. The remainder of the climb, only a little more than two hundred metres, must be done on foot, but a permit is indispensable, which can be obtained from the park offices, in La Orotava or through the web page www.reservasparquesnacionales.es (no permits are handed out in the park itself).
(It is recommended that you get your access permit for the Telesforo Bravo footpath as soon as possible because, due to the heavy demand in the summer period, the daily licences are issued very quickly.)
Those who love mountaineering, if they are in good physical condition, can manage without the cable car and can reach the peak along a footpath (it is forbidden to follow any other route) which starts from the road itself in the area of Montaña Blanca. The route is demanding and takes over six hours to climb, and the permit is still necessary in order to climb the last few metres. You must bear in mind that the altitude may make breathing difficult and that on some winter days, the peak may be covered in snow. It is always advisable to have clothing for protection from the cold as well as the sun.
A MAGICAL NIGHT
It is possible to spend the night in the interior of the park. The well-known “Las Cañadas del Teide” National Parador or Hotel offers comfortable accommodation and excellent Canarian cuisine.From here, there are a variety of pathways that take you through part of the park. Another option, less comfortable but possibly more attractive for some, is the Altavista Moutain Refuge. This is open every day of the year, except when climatic conditions make this impossible. At dawn, at over 3,000 metres above sea level, the sun arises from between the silhouettes of the other Canary Islands. It would be difficult to find a better application for the epithet of “magical”.