Tenerife has a great number of tracks and footpaths in a variety of environments, settings and climates, all with different levels of difficulty. Hiking helps you gain a deeper understanding of the island, discover its beauty and get to know the way of life of its people including the aboriginal population, the "guanches," who made the first trails through the dense laurisilva forest and the grazing areas near Mount Teide.
The most unique of Tenerife's walks is the one which goes up to the peak of Mount Teide (3,717 metres high). It is a tough route and you need to apply for a permit from the park authorities to reach the very top. The starting point is in the area of Montaña Blanca (2,725 metres high) which you can reach following the track that leaves the El Portillo Visitors' Centre or a different track that leaves the road 10 kilometres on from the Centre closer to Montaña Blanca. You can find complete information on this and other walks in either of the two visitors centres.
As well as the National Park, the Rural Parks of Teno and Anaga are also excellent places for hiking. They are full of interesting plants, wildlife and isolated country villages. In the Anaga Rural Park, in the far east of the island, you can find some of the oldest footpaths in Tenerife, such as the "camino real de Las Vueltas," a route that follows an ancient "guanche" trail. As for the Teno Rural Park, in the Northwest, there is a popular walk between Teno Alto and Teno Bajo, near the lighthouse at the Punta de Teno. Shepherds from the guanche kingdom of "Daute" used to take their flocks to search for pasture along this trail.