Hiking to Alto de Garajonay is one of the most popular activities in La Gomera. This walk takes you to the highest point on the island; on a clear day, you will have spectacular 360-degree views of La Gomera.
Basic Information – Hiking Alto De Garajonay
Introduction – Hiking On La Gomera
If you like hiking, you will love La Gomera. The island has the most incredible variety of landscapes, with steep cliffs overlooking rocky coastlines, and inland the coast gives way to volcanic peaks, dramatic rocks and staggeringly steep ravines.
In the heart of La Gomera is National Park Garajonay, with damp, dense forests of moss-coated trees. It seems a world away from the sunny and arid south coast. The variations in climate result in a vast range of plant life in La Gomera, where you will find cacti, lush green forests, palm trees and banana plantations.
Although the climate varies dramatically as you move around the island, the temperature is surprisingly constant. You are unlikely to experience temperatures much outside the 15-25 deg C range at any time of year. This means that the weather is almost always perfect for hiking.
However, the most significant advantage for us was the sheer volume and range of hikes on La Gomera. The Garajonay National Park has an incredible network of well-defined trails, many of which have been designated as “recommended routes.” These numbered routes, or “rutas,” are signposted and easy to follow.
The only downside of hiking on this wonderful island is that you won’t find a trail without some elevation gain. Also, many of the trails are high with steep drops and definitely not for the faint-hearted. If you dislike heights, check your routes carefully before setting out.
Overview – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
Hiking to Alto de Garajonay means walking to the highest point on the island (1485m). The hike we describe is the shortest route to the top, but we give some longer options in our “Route Variations” section below.
If you get the chance, this walk should be done on a clear day, and you will be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of the entire island. You will also have great views across to Mount Teide, the volcano on Tenerife.
Part of the ascent takes you through trees, but the forest isn’t dense, and you will have good views for most of the walk.
Prepare – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
There are a few things to note before starting this hike:
- Footwear – If you follow the loop we suggest, parts of the walk will be steep with some uneven ground. We recommend wearing sturdy hiking shoes or boots.
- Food and Drink – There are no amenities on this hike, so make sure you pack all the food and drink you will need.
- Sunburn – the coastal winds on La Gomera mean that sunburn is common. The sun here is powerful, and the cooling breeze can fool you into thinking you aren’t at risk. If it is a sunny day, make sure you take your sun cream.
Starting Point – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
This hike starts from El Contadero in the heart of the Garajonay National Park. There is a small car park on the northbound side of the GM-2 with room for around 15 cars.
If this car park is full, there are two smaller parking areas (for maybe 2-3 cars each) a few 100 metres to the south of the main car park. The start of the hike is a wide paved path directly opposite the car park.
Route Description – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
Here you will leave the paved trail and climb up a narrower dirt track with some built-in steps. This track will take you all the way to the summit.
Note that you can bear right at the fork and continue to the summit on the paved trail, returning by the same route. This option may suit people who aren’t comfortable on uneven ground.
This walk starts on a wide paved path which splits into a loop after around 500 metres. The recommended route is clockwise, so when you reach the fork, you should bear to the left following the sign that says “Alto de Garonjay.”
In both cases, the return from the summit takes you down a wide paved trail with beautiful views.
Route Variations – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
This area of the mountains is a maze of hiking trails, and there are many different routes for hiking to Alto de Garajonay. Two of the more popular hikes are the following:
For a moderate hike, try starting at Pajarito to the southeast of the summit. This 4.5km hike is a loop with a combined elevation gain of around 180m. The official number for this hike is Ruta 17.
For a longer hike, start at the Laguna Grande visitor area. This 11.1km hike has a combined elevation gain of around 441m and an official hike number of Ruta 14.
Points Of Interest – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
The main points of interest on this hike are:
- The highest point on La Gomera at 1485m
- Ceremonial site of ancient Gomerons
- Sea and mountain views
- Varied woodland and vegetation
Pros And Cons – Hiking To Alto De Garajonay
Pros – Hiking Alto De Garajonay
- Spectacular mountain & sea views
- Views of Tenerife’s volcano
- Easy walk with a paved option
- Easy to follow
Cons – Hiking Alto De Garajonay
- The car park can get full
- Lots of people
Conclusion: A Hike Worth Every Step
Hiking to Alto de Garajonay is more than just a walk; it’s an experience that encapsulates the essence of La Gomera. From the lush forests of the Garajonay National Park to the awe-inspiring 360-degree views at the summit, this hike offers a bit of everything. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone who just wants to soak in nature’s grandeur, this hike is for you.
Before you set off, remember to wear sturdy hiking shoes and pack all the essentials like food, water, and sun cream. The trail starts at El Contadero, where parking is limited, so aim to get there early.
If you’re looking for a bit more challenge or variation, consider starting your hike at Pajarito or the Laguna Grande visitor area. These routes offer different perspectives and challenges but lead to the same breathtaking summit.
So, are you ready to conquer the highest point on La Gomera? Will you opt for the shorter route or challenge yourself with a longer trek? Either way, the Alto de Garajonay promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning for more adventures on this incredible island.