The trip to Tenerife was booked and I was excited to hike the Teide volcano. It was the second time I traveled to the Canarian island also called “The Island of Eternal Spring”. On my first visit the spring was not so eternal and snow covered the volcano meaning the roads were closed and hiking was impossible. I had already booked to stay at the Altavista Refuge and hiking to the crater at 3,700 meters was my dream so you can imagine my disappointment at not being able to do it. So I ventured back to Tenerife as second time to attempt the hike.
Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about hiking to the crater of the Teide volcano in Tenerife.
FIRST STOP: ALTAVISTA REFUGE
If you plan to do the hike you should book a stay at the Altavista Refuge long in advance because it’s booked out most of the time. The Refuge is located at 3,260 m altitude and it offers great shelter from the cold nights in the Teide National Park. Booking a bed there has the advantage that you’ll have the permit to hike to the crater, otherwise you’ll need to obtain an access permit on the website of the organization of the national park.
HIKING TO THE REFUGE
The trail starts from the highway via Montaña Blanca. There is a map of the trails, a list of safety instructions and a sign which is warning you that this is a difficult-rated hike. Then you begin the hike through the dry and flat landscape which is looks like a place from outer space.
While hiking to the Refuge you might think that this is the hardest part. It took me 7 hours and 4 litres of water to get to there. Reaching the Refuge feels like a salvation after the exhausting trail and you’ll be very happy about booking a stay in a warm bed for the night there! For me this break came at perfect time and made it possible to gain new energy for the last steps reaching the crater.
HIKING THE LAST 1.000 M TO THE CRATER
The access permit to the crater allows you to access between 6 am and 9 am. Therefore you will need to start your hike at around 5 am to make it in time for sun rise seen from 3,700 m. Keep in mind that you’ll need a torch for hiking in the dark and very warm clothes as there are extreme conditions up there (minus degrees and strong wind).
There is the possibility to take the cable car back to the bus station. Or you can just walk back down, this will take you around 8 hours. The first option with the cable car takes less than 10 minutes and may be preferred depending on how tired you are after the previous days hiking.
KEEP IN MIND BEFORE HIKING
– Don’t forget to book your stay at the Altavista Refuge long before (2-3 months, depending on the season).
– Keep in mind that this is a very difficult hike, the trail is steep and you need to be in good shape to reach the summit.
– Bring plenty of water and food with you, staying hydrated is crucial and you have to consider a couple of meals (1. for the night in the Refuge, 2. morning before hiking to the crater and 3. for hiking back)
– The Refuge sells hot drinks, soft drinks and water (which are pretty expensive) and it is also possible to heat up food.
– Take warm and wind resistant clothing even if the beginning of the trail is warm and sunny, and be prepared to sweat a lot!
– Try to take only necessary items, a heavy bag will become a burden on this trail.
– Wear your best hiking boots, the ground is slippery and cliffy.
– One tip I can give you is to take some wet towels with you because there is no warm water at the Refuge and you’ll be sweaty for sure when arriving there.
– Plan enough time for the hike, especially if you love to take tons of pictures.
– Have some cash ready for the cable car if you want to take it back to the valley station.
– Know that the only bus driving to the city goes around 4 pm. You’ll be at the bus station around 11 am if you take the cable car back so make a plan for the hours in between.
I promise you this hike will be one of the best experiences you’ve ever had! You’ll forget the struggle of the long and exhausting hike once you’re on standing on top of the highest peak of Spain. Plus you’ll be rewarded with the most astonishing view over Tenerife and surrounding islands as well as the best night sky you’ve probably ever seen.
Use my tips to go there prepared, watch your steps and enjoy the view and don’t forget to take in the view and take loads of pictures!
Have you hiked a volcano? We would love to hear about your favourite volcano hikes round the world – please share them in the comments below! Read Next > Off The Beaten Path In Tenerife, Canary Islands