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Walking on La Palma

AuthorPaddy Dillon
PublisherCicerone Press
ISBNISBN-13: 978 1 85284 604 6
Also available in eBook and Kindle formats
Price£14.95
The highest mountains on the GR 131 often catch snow in the middle of winter.

The highest mountains on the GR 131 often catch snow in the middle of winter.

The Barranco de los Guanches deep in the Caldera de Taburiente national park.

The Barranco de los Guanches deep in the Caldera de Taburiente national park.

The view from the red crater of Volcán Martín on the Ruta de los Volcanes.

The view from the red crater of Volcán Martín on the Ruta de los Volcanes.

This is one of three guidebooks that replaces Walking in the Canary Islands - West. An update to the original guidebook was planned, then shelved, as the authorities in the Canary Islands embarked on an ambitious plan to signpost and waymark a splendid network of trails across the entire archipelago. The island of La Palma led the way, establishing a trail network as long ago as 1999, which has attracted the attention of discerning walkers in ever greater numbers.

La Palma has the reputation of being one of the steepest islands on the planet, and naturally, walking on the island must involve some steep ascents and descents. Fortunately, over the centuries, paths and tracks have been blazed up and down the mountains, from village to village, taking the best lines and zigzagging to ease the gradients. In the past, it was always easier to walk over the highest mountains to get round the island, rather than to pick a way across the rugged slopes, which are often cut by deep and steep-sided barrancos.

The trail network on La Palma includes the GR 131, climbing from sea level to the highest mountain, then staying on the high crest of the island back down to the sea. It is one of seven stages of a route planned to cross all seven of the Canary Islands, and it can be completed in three days. The GR 130 offers a circular walk all the way round La Palma, crossing ancient slopes carved deep with barrancos, as well as slopes of lava and ash dating only from the 20th century. The route takes over a week to walk. An excellent network of shorter ‘PR’ routes is based on traditional paths and mule tracks, spreading to all parts of the island.

The middle of La Palma features a huge valley carved deep into the mountains, surrounded by cliffs, with very few points of access. This is the Caldera de Taburiente, protected as a national park. A series of routes allow it to be explored, but to make the most of this area, it is necessary to camp at the heart of it. The whole of La Palma is a World Biosphere Reserve, and several parts of the island enjoy a high level of protection.

As La Palma lies at the remote western end of the Canary Islands, it is often overlooked by visitors, who tend to head for the big, brash islands. This is a pity, since La Palma is a fascinating place to explore, despite the rigours of its steep trails, and it is well worth making the effort to explore it earlier, rather than later.

Walk Contents

Walk 1 Santa Cruz and Lomo de las Nieves
Walk 2 Fuentes de Las Breñas
Walk 3 Buenavista and Pico de las Ovejas
Walk 4 Santa Cruz and Montaña de Tagoja
Walk 5 Pico de la Nieve to Santa Cruz
Walk 6 Santa Cruz to Puerto de Tazacorte
Walk 7 El Paso to Refugio del Pilar
Walk 8 Refugio del Pilar to Santa Cruz
Walk 9 Refugio del Pilar to Playa del Hoyo
Walk 10 Refugio del Pilar to Playa del Hoyo or La Salemera
Walk 11 Refugio del Pilar and Pico Nambroque
Walk 12 Jedey to Tigalate
Walk 13 San Nicolás and Coladas de San Juan
Walk 14 Llanos del Jable and Coladas de San Juan
Walk 15 Pico Bejenado
Walk 16 La Cumbrecita to La Cancelita and Los Llanos
Walk 17 Barranco de las Angustias and Caldera de Taburiente
Walk 18 La Cumbrecita to Caldera de Taburiente
Walk 19 Caldera de Taburiente and Hoya Verde
Walk 20 Tijarafe and Porís de Candelaria
Walk 21 Tinizara to Piedras Altas and Tijarafe
Walk 22 La Traviesa - El Time to Briesta
Walk 23 La Traviesa - Briesta to Barlovento
Walk 24 La Zarza and Don Pedro
Walk 25 Roque del Faro to Garafía
Walk 26 Roque del Faro and Franceses
Walk 27 Roque del Faro to Roque de Los Muchachos
Walk 28 Roque de Los Muchachos to Puntagorda or Tijarafe
Walk 29 Pico de la Cruz to Barlovento
Walk 30 Pico de la Cruz to Los Sauces or Barlovento
Walk 31 Los Sauces and Los Tilos
Walk 32 Fuente de Olén to Las Lomadas
Walk 33 Fuente Vizcaína to La Galga
Walk 34 Pico de la Nieve to Puntallana or Tenagua
Walk 35 GR 130 - Santa Cruz de La Palma to Mazo
Walk 36 GR 130 - Mazo to Fuencaliente
Walk 37 GR 130 - Fuencaliente to Los Llanos
Walk 38 GR 130 - Los Llanos to Puntagorda
Walk 39 GR 130 - Puntagorda to Garafía
Walk 40 GR 130 - Garafía to Franceses
Walk 41 GR 130 - Franceses to Los Sauces
Walk 42 GR 130 - Los Sauces to Santa Cruz de La Palma
Walk 43 GR 131 - Puerto de Tazacorte to Roque de los Muchachos
Walk 44 GR 131 - Roque de los Muchachos to Refugio del Pilar
Walk 45 GR 131 - Refugio del Pilar to Faro de Fuencaliente