Friday, April 24, 2015

Gran Canaria: Cruz de Tejeda - Degollada Becerra - Garanon - Preza de los Hornos - Roque Nublo

After the first successful attempt to get to The Landmark of Gran Canaria, Roque Nublo, I figured that there must be an easier way. After all, cars can get within one kilometer of it, and cars definitely can't handle the descents and ascents that I did.

First time, if you remember, I took the path through La Culata. Problem with this route is that it has one steep and long descent - into La Culata village, and one long and steep ascent from there to Roque Nublo. Going down is harder and more dangerous than going up on those paths, as they are slippery because of the loose stones.

Sonchus acaulis, I think. Enormous dandeliony thing covered in sticky white-green down, very difficult to get off your clothes :)

This time, shortly after the viewpoint at Degollada de Becerra, I took the other branch of the path, signposted to Tunte/Llanos de la Pez. It eventually comes to (logically) Llanos de la Pez, which is an unexpectedly flat bit in the middle of Las Cumbres - the peaks of Gran Canaria. It is a sizeable place in a pine forest, with a camping site/sports activities center/picnic area, barbeques included. Unless you really want to have a picnic, follow the signs to Roque Nublo from Garanon - there is a big signpost there, you can't miss it. (The recreational area with all its bits and bobs will be a little to the left - some 800 meters). From that particular sign it's another 3 km to the Roque Nublo, clearly signposted except at the very end. But by then it doesn't matter, just follow the path up.

View from the mirador after the Reservoir Embase de Los Hornos

Even if you take this route you still have to go down, and then up of course. The biggest ascent and descent are at the reservoir at Preza de los Hornos. You start going down almost immediately after Garanon, cross the reservoir on the top of the dam (Preza) and then go up to a viewpoint above it, where the path touches the normal road. The picture above, with its beautiful cloudfall on the right, is taken from the viewpoint.

Important note: The path pointers send you down a steep path along the side of the valley after Mirador de Presa de Los Hornos. Don't go there. The suggested path goes down, along the road and maybe twenty meters below it and then goes up again to join the road. It is slippery, steep and narrow. You are much better off walking those three hundred meters or so on the road side. The road is narrow and curvy, but everybody drives slowly. I estimate you have a bigger chance of falling into the caldera from the path than of being hit by a car on the road.

View south and down towards Ayacata

After the bit on the road you come to Roque Nublo's main car park (about 1 km from the Roque itself). There is a fruit/icecream kiosk there which looks like a permanent fixture. After the car park the path is exceptionally well-maintained but, unfortunately, only for a very short while. Later it becomes its usual bumpy self. (Note: even if you are coming there by car, the proper footgear is important. I saw some people trying to walk this short path in flipflops. It is doable, but inadvisable).

Fortunately (or not, depends how you look at it) there are so many people here that at least you can be sure that somebody will spot you if you run into any difficulties.

Exposed roots of a pine tree, the soil around them worn out by wind, rain, and walking boots
The path runs through a pine forest for a while and then comes to the deserted moonscape of Roque Nublo's immediate surroundings.

There is a little plateau with reddish rocks and very few plants. I can't be sure if it was always this bare or if that is a result of accumulated trampling of thousands of feet.

The smaller rock to the left is called La Rana (The Frog). You can see it looking at Roque Nublo with its big googly eye.

View west towards La Aldea de San Nicolas and Teide on Tenerife

Time-wise it took the same 3 hours to get from Cruz de Tejeda to Roque Nublo as with La Culata route, but with a lot less effort. After you have had your fill of the beautiful view, you have two options. You can either come back the same way or you can go down to La Culata. From there is one bus a day to San Mateo (at about 17.10, no buses Sunday, and check the Global site in any case). Or you can walk about 4 km to Tejeda village where there are more buses and facilities, but I didn't walk this route and don't know how good or bad it is.

View south from the plateau around Roque Nublo

I thought I finally figured out the new googlemaps, but the embedding didn't work for me (refuses to show the actual route), so here is a link that seems to work - route.

Pics of inland Gran Canaria on shutterstock - here

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